January 13, 2022 John McGrath

CMS Updated Guidance on Nursing Home Visitation

CMS is providing clarification to recent guidance for visitation (see CMS memorandum QSO-20-39- NH REVISED 11/12/2021). While CMS cannot address every aspect of visitation that may occur, we provide additional details about certain scenarios below. However, the bottom line is visitation must  be permitted at all times with very limited and rare exceptions, in accordance with residents’ rights.  In short, nursing homes should enable visitation following these three key points:  

• Adhere to the core principles of infection prevention, especially wearing a mask, performing hand hygiene, and practicing physical distancing; 

• Don’t have large gatherings where physical distancing cannot be maintained; and

• Work with your state or local health department when an outbreak occurs. 

States may instruct nursing homes to take additional measures to make visitation safer, while  ensuring visitation can still occur. This includes requiring that, during visits, residents and visitors  wear masks that are well-fitting, and preferably those with better protection, such as surgical masks  or KN95. States should work with CMS on specific actions related to additional measures they are  considering.