NY announces new visitation guidelines for adult care facilities

New York News

Nursing Homes Continue To Fight Against the Coronavirus

ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — New York state announced a revision to its visitation guidelines for assisted care facilities.

Under the new guidance, visitation will be allowed in adult care facilities after a 14-day period following no new confirmed staff or resident COVID-19 cases.

Nursing homes still require a 28-day period without COVID-19 cases before visitation is allowed.

Stephen Hanse, who heads the state health facilities and assisted living associations, called the new policies thoughtful and a true safeguard for residents, staff and visitors. He also said he is hopeful that a similar plan will soon be implemented for skilled nursing facilities.

Guidance from the state is below:

ACFs may resume visitation and specified additional activities from the date of this advisory
and under the following conditions:

  1. The ACF completed the NY Forward Safety Plan, submits a copy of the completed plan
    to covidadultcareinfo@health.ny.gov, and retains the original onsite at the facility where
    it is easily accessible upon request of the Department or local health department. Such
    plan shall include attestation of compliance with all State and federal guidelines as
    described in number 6 below.
  2. The ACF has complied with the staff testing requirements, including furlough of staff
    having tested positive for COVID-19 and the facility has no staffing shortages.
    All of the consenting in-house ACF residents have undergone diagnostic COVID-19
    testing, and the most recently submitted daily HERDS report indicates no new confirmed
    staff or resident cases in the last fourteen (14) days based on the HERDS report date.
  3. The ACF has undergone an Infection Control survey on or after May 1, 2020 by the
    Department and was found to be in substantial compliance.
  4. The ACF is compliant with all reporting requirements associated with COVID-19
    response, including but not limited to the daily HERDS and weekly staff testing surveys,
    and is compliant with all applicable guidance. Approved plans of correction have been
    received for all citations related to the aforementioned reporting requirements.
  5. The ACF is in full compliance with all applicable State regulations, Executive Orders,
    and State guidance related to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
    Health Advisory: Visitation in Adult Care Facilities
    Please distribute immediately to:
    Adult Care Facility Administrators
  6. A copy of the ACF’s formal visitation plan is posted to their public website and broadcast
    via email or social media to provide visitors with clear guidelines for visiting, and to
    announce if and when visitation is paused due to an increase in the number of residents
    and/or staff with a confirmed positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

When an ACF meets all of the criteria above, the ACF may:

  1. Only allow for visitors (including resident advocates, peer bridgers and care managers)
    if:
    a. Visitor is 18 years of age or older or accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or
    older.
    b. Adequate staff are present to allow for personnel to help with the transition of
    residents, monitoring of visitation (including adherence to social distancing
    requirements), and cleaning and disinfecting visitation areas after each visit.
    c. The ACF maintains signage regarding facemask utilization and hand hygiene
    practices and uses applicable floor markings to cue social distancing
    delineations.
    d. Visitors are screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 prior to resident
    access and are refused access if they exhibit any symptoms or do not pass the
    screening questions. Screening must consist of both temperature checks and
    asking screening questions to assess potential exposure to COVID-19 which
    shall include questions regarding international travel or travel to other states
    designated under the Commissioner’s travel advisory. The facility must maintain
    documentation of the screening questions asked onsite and make it available
    upon the Department’s request.
    e. Documentation of visitor screening must be maintained onsite in an electronic
    format and available upon the Department’s request for purposes of inspection
    and potential contact tracing. Documentation must include the following for each
    visitor or representative of the long-term care ombudsman program (LTCOP) to
    the ACF:
    i. First and last name of the visitor;
    ii. Physical (street) address of the visitor;
    iii. Daytime and evening telephone number;
    iv. Date and time of visit;
    v. Email address if available; and
    vi. A notation indicating the individual cleared the screening (both temperature
    and questions) that does not include any individual temperatures or other
    individual specific information.
    f. Areas where visitors and residents meet are appropriately disinfected between
    visitations using an EPA-approved disinfectant.
    g. There is adequate PPE to ensure residents wear a facemask or face covering
    during visitation.
    h. Visitors maintain social distancing and wear a face covering at all times. The
    facility will provide a facemask if the visitor shows up lacking a face covering.
    i. Facilities provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer to visitors and residents, and staff
    demonstrate appropriate use.
    j. Facilities establish additional guidelines as needed to ensure resident and staff
    safety and continuity of facility operations. Such guidelines shall include
    provisions for limiting the number of visitors at any one time and limited visitor
    hours to ensure all residents may have visitation.
    k. Visitation should be limited to outdoor areas, weather permitting. Under certain
    limited circumstances, as determined by the facility, visitation can be inside in a
    well-ventilated common space with no more than 10 individuals who are
    appropriately socially distanced and wear a facemask or face covering while in
    the presence of others.
    l. At no time shall the total number of visitors exceed 10 percent of the in-house
    resident census.
    m. Currently COVID-19 positive residents, residents with COVID-19 signs or
    symptoms, and residents in a 14-day quarantine or observation period are not
    eligible for visits.
    n. The ACF should develop a short, easy-to-read fact sheet outlining visitor
    expectations including appropriate hand hygiene and face covering
    requirements. The fact sheet must be provided upon initial screening to all
    visitors.
  2. Allow for resumption of external renovation projects with written consent of the
    applicable regional office of the Department subject to receipt of a requisite Resident
    Safety Plan and/or licensure project via NYSECON and weekly staff testing of the
    contractor staff consistent with Executive Order. Those renovation projects impacting
    resident space are not currently permitted.

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