Our top priority at this point is to prevent COVID-19 from getting into long term care facilities. AHCA/NCAL has developed new guidance documents for nursing facilities and for assisted living communities to take reasonable efforts to prevent the entry of the virus.
The SNF guidance includes a recommendation to restrict all non-essential visits. This includes restricting family visits, school groups, bands, and other outside group activities. As we learn more about how serious this virus is for the elderly-particularly the experience in facilities caring for the elderly and how it can spread once it’s in a facility-we believe this new guidance is prudent to help achieve our collective goal to prevent the entry of the virus and to put our residents first.
The AL guidance recognizes that assisted living communities vary in size, the scope of care, and residents and families’ ability to enter and exit the building freely. Therefore, the AL guidance includes some possible suggestions for the limitation of visitors, including asking residents to encourage their loved ones not to visit, establishing specific visiting hours, limiting the number of entrances, and enacting a sign-in policy for all visitors at a central entry point.
Local or State Public Officials may make additional restrictions depending on data about the local spread of COVID-19, which you should follow. Also, CMS and CDC may issue additional guidance in the future. We will keep you informed of any changes that impact SNF and AL guidance.
Please see the guidance documents for additional details for:
- Nursing facilities
- Assisted living communities
Our recommendations go beyond the CMS guidance issued on March 4th in QSO 20-14-Nursing Homes but are consistent with the guidance and regulations that we should restrict persons entering the building who pose a health risk to the residents.
To reflect this new guidance, we have also created a screening checklist for SNF visitors and updated our communication materials, including template letters to employees and residents & family members, as well as talking points for facilities without any confirmed cases currently.
Please email COVID19@ahca.org with any questions. For additional information and resources on the virus, visit our dedicated website on this issue: www.ahcancal.org/coronavirus.