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New Nursing Home Guidelines Allow Close Contact With Residents.

New Nursing Home Guidelines Allow Close Contact With Residents.

Hugs and card play at nursing homes is now fine under new Covid-19 guidance for nursing homes issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CNN reported. Also, the guidelines do not require visitors to be vaccinated either. The guidance will take immediate effect. 

New Nursing Home Guidelines Allow Close Contact With Residents.

According to commentators, the recommendations were somewhat different than the recommendations released Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for vaccinated people in the general population, which allowed people in small groups to meet indoors with no need for physical distancing or masks for even the elderly.

New Nursing Home Guidelines Allow Close Contact With Residents.

Vaccinated or not, nursing home residents comprised a vulnerable patient population, so control of infection was the top priority, as per CMS. For residents of nursing homes as also for visitors, even with vaccination, CMS still required the use of face masks that fitted well, maintenance of physical distance, and washing of hands, a spokesperson for the agency said in an email. But significant relaxations were now part of the CMS guidelines in addition to new freedoms.

CMS understood the emotional, psychological and physical stress that extended isolation and separation from family put residents of nursing home residents and their families to, Dr. Lee Fleisher said on the website of the agency. Fleisher, a chief medical officer and director of CMS’ Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, added that it was an important step being taken. He continued to lay stress on the importance of infection prevention practices in the backdrop of transmission risk of COVID-19.

The new guidance relieves visitors from the need to carry a Covid-19 test result for seeing their families, and they also need not produce proof of vaccination either. The guidelines strongly encourage people to get the shots administered nevertheless.

Visits would be restricted in case the county had a positivity rate of over 10%, with less than 70% of the facility’s residents being fully vaccinated.

Families also needed to keep visits on hold in case residents were in quarantine or if they had a positive Covid-19 test.

“Compassionate care’ visits could, however, be undertaken at any time, in which case the vaccination status of the resident or the positivity rate of the county was not a concern. A compassionate care visit was one undertaken following a sharp decline in the health of the resident.

Under the guidance, outdoor visits were encouraged, as they continued to be the safest, especially for the unvaccinated. Furthermore, people are encouraged to keep physical distance when possible.

Nothing could substitute for physical contact, such as the one between a resident and their loved one, therefore with the resident fully vaccinated; they could choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor when a well-fitting facemask was worn, according to the CMS website. But visitors would need to maintain physical distance from residents and facility staff.

In case of an outbreak of Covid-19 in the nursing home, managers would be required to temporarily suspend visits, undertake testing of all persons immediately, and ensure the case’s confinement (s). Visits could then be allowed in the rest of the building.

The Trump administration’s CMS Administrator Seema VermaCMS Administrator Seema Verma told CNN that the goal was to always ensure that the residents enjoyed a good quality of life and being safe.

She told CNN that with the start of the vaccination efforts in December, the revision of visitor guidelines had started.

She added it was one of the issues she had taken up with the transition team to impress on them that, as part of their plan, once they were through with the vaccinations, guidance would be needed quickly because families would want to meet their loved ones.

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