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Indoor Visitation During COVID-19 - Current Status and Travel Advisories

Each iCare Health Network care center has specific visitation guidelines depending on the center’s layout, staffing and other needs. Below are a list of guidelines and infection control measures. These policies are intended to maintain a safe environment while encouraging residents to engage with their friends and loved ones.  

Travel Advisories

Visitation Guidelines – Updated March 15, 2021

Recently the CDC released guidelines identifying lessening restrictions on contact between and facemask use for fully vaccinated persons but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) quickly clarified that those guidelines DO NOT APPLY IN HEALTHCARE FACILITIES. Because we are Medicare/Medicaid certified we must follow CMS guidance, and because we are licensed by the CT Department of Public Health (DPH), we must also follow state  laws and regulations and DPH’s guidance.

On March 10, 2021, CMS released revisions to their guidelines on Nursing Facility Visitation, which do affect our visitation and which CT DPH affirmed and supported in a conference call with CT Nursing Facilities. The following is a summary of the the revised visitation guidance, which must be adhered to:

  • SCREENING OF VISITORS: We must screen all who enter the facility for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., temperature checks, questions about and observations of signs or symptoms), and we must deny entry of those with signs or symptoms or those who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 infection in the prior 14 days (regardless of the visitor’s vaccination status). 
  • INFECTION PREVENTION MEASURES: We must enforce these standards throughout the facility:
    • Hand Hygiene (use of alcohol-based hand rub) must be done prior to visitation
    • Face covering or mask (covering mouth and nose)
    • Social distancing at least six feet between persons
    • Instructional signage will be posted throughout the facility to provide visitor education on COVID-19 signs and symptoms, infection control precautions, and other applicable facility practices (e.g., use of face covering or mask, specified entries, exits and routes todesignated areas, hand hygiene)
    • high-frequency touched surfaces in the facility must be cleaned and disinfected in our designated visitation areas after each visit
  • LIMITED PHYSICAL CONTACT: If the resident is fully vaccinated, they can choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor while wearing a well-fitting face mask and performing hand-hygiene before and after. Regardless, visitors should physically distance from other residents and staff in the facility.
  • TYPES OF VISITATION POSSIBLE:  Resident Visitation will be person-centered (based on the individual resident’s circumstances and preferences) and can include the following types of visits, accommodations or required limitations:
    • Outdoor visitation is preferred even when the resident and visitor are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This is the mode of visitation most preferred by CDC, CMS and DPH as outdoor visits generally pose a lower risk of transmission due to increased space and airflow. Therefore, visits should be held outdoors whenever practicable. However, weather considerations (e.g., inclement weather, excessively hot or cold temperatures, poor air quality) or an individual resident’s health status (e.g., medical condition(s), COVID-19 status) may hinder outdoor visits. These type visits can be arranged even if we are in outbreak status.
    • Indoor visitation:
      •  Is allowable  for all residents, except for circumstances when visitation should be limited due to a high risk of COVID-19 such as:
        • if the nursing home’s COVID-19 county positivity rate is >10% and <70% of our residents are fully vaccinated;
        • Residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated until they have met the criteria for “recovered”; or
        • Residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met criteria for release from quarantine.
      • Must be scheduled for a specified length of time in order for us to safely manage the number of visitors per resident at one time and the total number of visitors in the facility at one time
      • Must be conducted in a specified location, such as our designated visitation area or a resident’s room. Visitor movement in the facility must be limited to movement to and from the location of the visit. Visits for residents who share a room should not be conducted in the resident’s room, if possible.
      • Can  still occur when there is an outbreak, if the outbreak is contained to a single area (e.g., unit) of the facility and the visitation is not on the affected unit, but only after a round of outbreak testing as verified that there has been no spread beyond the affected
        unit. If 2 or more units have COVID positive tests, all in-facility visitation (other than compassionate care visits) will be suspended.
    • Compassionate Care Visits:
      • Compassionate Care Visits continue to have few limitations other than the requirements for scheduling,  screening, hand hygiene and proper use of any additional PPE (personal protective equipment) required based on the resident’s COVID status or the circumstances of where the visitation would take place. For compassionate care visits with any resident on precautions, additional PPE may be necessary, for which education on donning and doffing of PPE will be available for any such visitor.
      • Compassionate Care Visits can be arranged for circumstances such as:
        • A resident is assessed as nearing their  end-of-life
        • A resident is having extreme difficulty in adjusting to their admission
        • A resident who is grieving a recent death of  a friend or family member
        • A resident who  is experiencing difficulty with eating or drinking, and had previously been assisted with this by a family caregiver.
        • A resident who is showing untypical signs of withdrawal or other emotionl distress.
      • PHYSICAL CONTACT DURING COMPASSIONATE CARE VISITS: All visits should be conducted using social distancing; however, if during a compassionate care visit, a visitor and facility identify a way to allow for personal contact, it should only be done following appropriate infection prevention guidelines, and for a limited amount of time. If the resident is fully vaccinated, they can choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor while wearing a well-fitting face mask and performing hand-hygiene before and after. Regardless, visitors should physically distance from other residents and staff in the facility.

There is a lot of information here, but as mentioned earlier, iCare centers will approach each visitation circumstance with person-centered consideration, while at the same time taking every necessary measure to protect the safety and well-being of all or residents and staff.  

For more information please contact the iCare Health Network care center directly. Email inquiries can be directed to