Massachusetts OKs resumption of indoor visits at nursing homes
Massachusetts nursing and rest homes may resume indoor visits beginning Friday, Sept. 25, so long as appropriate infection control and safety measures are in place, according to new state guidance.
The guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs expands indoor visitation options, as well in assisted living residences.
In March, the commonwealth restricted visitation at nursing homes, rest homes and assisted living residences in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
As the state proceeded with a phased reopening as the surge in cases of the extremely infectious respiratory condition known as coronavirus disease 2019 began to flatten, visitation restrictions with regard to these care facilities were updated in June to allow for outdoor visitation.
The new guidance on indoor visits to nursing homes and rest homes includes the following:
- Indoor visits should occur within a designated visitation space that is close to the entrance of the facility and allows for social distancing
- The visitor must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and have their temperature checked
- Residents, staff, and visitors must wear a mask or face covering for the duration of the visit
- The visitor must remain at least six feet away from the resident for the majority of the visit
- If desired by both parties, there may be physical contact between the resident and visitor so long as precautionary measures are followed such as hand sanitation before and after contact
- A schedule is implemented for frequent disinfection of the designated visitation space
- The unit, floor, or care area where the resident lives must not have any COVID-19 cases in residents or staff in the past 14 days and the facility is not experiencing a staffing shortage that requires a contingency staffing plan
Assisted living residences were previously able to resume indoor, in-unit visitation, and may now also resume indoor visitation in a designated shared space, such as a waiting room near the entrance of the residence, according to the updated guidance.
They are subject to the same appropriate infection control and safety measures issued in the updated guidance allowing for indoor visits at nursing homes and rest homes, except for the requirement that there are no COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days.