After months of families unable to meet with loved ones inside Massachusetts nursing homes amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Baker administration said it will now allow people to enter nursing homes for indoor visits.
The Baker administration on Thursday announced new indoor visit guidance for nursing homes and rest homes, along with expanding indoor visit options in assisted living residences. The guidance goes into effect on Friday.
“The guidance from the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) balances the important role visitation plays in supporting resident emotional health and quality of life, while ensuring necessary infection control measures are in place,” the Executive Office of Health and Human Services said in a statement.
Long-term care facilities in Massachusetts have been hit hard by the virus. Nearly 25,000 residents and healthcare workers of these facilities have been infected, and more than 6,000 coronavirus deaths have been reported in these facilities.
Nursing homes and rest homes can resume in-person visits as long as the following infection control and safety measures are in place:
- 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 6 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.
Assisted living residences were previously able to resume indoor, in-unit visitation, and can now also resume indoor visitation in a designated-shared space — such as a waiting room near the entrance of the residence.