New Season, Same Guidance: Refresher on Visitation, Activities, and Group Gatherings Guidance
Posted on August 18, 2022 by Kari Everson
Guidance for activities, visitation, and large group gatherings has not changed significantly. However, as the summer is winding down, long-term care settings that host gatherings are seeking a guidance refresher for these events.
Consider Transmission Rates
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) advise congregate care providers to consider the community transmission rates when crafting infection control practices for visitation and other activities. Times of substantial or high community transmission require more caution than during moderate to low transmission.
Nursing homes and assisted living organizations are required to allow visitation. Visitors are still required to screen before entering the building. Organizations remain responsible for educating visitors about the risks of visiting and the infection control requirements during their visit.
- Physically distance from other residents and staff
- Source control masks when outside of the resident's room or apartment
- Hand hygiene
- Visit in designated areas (visitation area, resident room, or resident apartment)
Resident-only Activities Still Recommended
It is safest and recommended for residents only to attend activities. If there are times when visitors are welcome to participate, there are some considerations.
- Activities outside (when appropriate) are best
- Visitors must wear masks regardless of vaccination status
- Visitors must be able to maintain physical distancing from all other residents irrespective of vaccination status
Dining with Visitors is Still Safest in a Private Area
Guidance for communal dining continues to state that it is safest for visitors to eat meals with their loved ones either in the resident's room/apartment or in a private dining area. If visitors are allowed to eat in congregate dining areas, the requirements are similar to activities.
- Visitors must wear masks regardless of vaccination status unless they are eating or drinking
- Visitors must maintain physical distancing from all other residents regardless of vaccination status
- If the visitor is unable to maintain physical distancing, they would not be able to eat in the communal dining area
Large Gatherings are Discouraged
Smaller gatherings with enough private space to maintain physical distancing are recommended. Senior care organizations are discouraged from large gatherings when physical distancing is not possible. During any provider-hosted gatherings, in addition to physical distancing, participants should be screened, perform hand hygiene, and wear masks at all times.
For COVID-19 and infection-control-related questions, please contact Kari Everson.