When COVID-19 hit America in spring 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a nationwide ban on nearly all visitation. Those who live and those with relatives who live in nursing homes have gone months without seeing their loved ones, but that may end very soon since the CMS lifted the federal visitor ban in mid-September.
Lifting the Visitor Ban
Mental illness, especially anxiety and depression, has spread rapidly in nursing homes and long-term care facilities since the onset of coronavirus in the United States. Due to this substantial decrease in residents’ mental states, advocates have been fighting for a repeal to the ban for months.
Now that the CMS is lifting the visitor ban, all nursing homes can return to regular visiting hours with a few discrepancies. Nursing home residents can visit family members and friends outdoors if masks are worn, and social distancing guidelines are followed. Some homes may begin allowing indoor visitation when there have been no new infections for a minimum of two weeks and the surrounding area’s infection rate is below 10 percent. The ban’s lift not only affects visitation but social activities within nursing homes, as well. With the visitor ban lifted, residents can once again eat in communal settings and participate in events.
Experts predict that an early form of the COVID-19 vaccine will be ready to administer as soon as late fall or early winter, though there is no definitive timeline. When these vaccinations hit the market, they will be in short supply while producers try to ramp up their output. The first rounds of the vaccine will likely be administered to health care providers and frontline workers, and the rounds released after that will go towards high-risk groups, including those in nursing homes. With the visitor ban lifted and a vaccine on the horizon, it will hopefully become even safer to visit your elderly loved ones in the coming months.
COVID-19 in Nursing Facilities
According to the CMS, over 220,000 confirmed cases and nearly 133,000 suspected cases of COVID-19 have spread through nursing homes across the US. Almost 55,000 of these cases resulted in death. Those living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are typically older individuals or individuals with pre-existing health concerns, which puts them at a higher risk of contracting and suffering from COVID-19.
Due to this staggering data, the CDC suggested restricting all visitation except in compassionate care situations, like end of life scenarios, in a months-old sample letter for long-term health providers. With this new ruling from the CMS, restrictions like will likely begin to lessen in the coming weeks.
Though some limitations may remain in place to protect those most at risk, people with family members in nursing homes may be able to visit their loved ones very soon. Contact your loved one’s long-term care facility for their individual policies and restrictions.
Got Medicare Questions?
We hope this information on the lifted visitor ban in nursing homes is helpful to you.
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