SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR) — New federal guidance is making it easier for you to visit your loved one in a nursing home. On Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) lifted many of the pandemic visiting restrictions still in place at nursing homes.

The new CMS guidance instructs nursing homes to allow visits “at all times.” There will no longer be a limit of how many visitors each resident can have, how often loved ones can visit, or the duration of each visit.

“It opens it up to have more visitors and to be able to come in more freely than we have been in over a year.”

Julie Sheedy
Chief Marketing Officer, Loretto Health & Rehabilitation

With COVID still on the rise, how are nursing homes ensuring you and your loved ones are safe? Even with 98% of Loretto’s staff fully vaccinated, it’s still a priority to keep COVID out of their facilities and residents inside protected.

All visitors at Loretto still need to check-in upon arrival and undergo a COVID screening, which includes a questionnaire and temperature check. If you or your loved one are unvaccinated, you’ll need to wear a mask at all times throughout your visit. Nursing homes also need to make sure social distancing can be maintained, especially during peak times of visitation.

“We’ve eased into this to make sure that we weren’t negatively impacting our residents or bringing COVID back in. These guidelines reinforce the importance of family visitation for loved ones is a critical piece of their care.”

Julie Sheedy

The CMS guidance also states if a nursing home is located in a county with a CDC “substantial” to “high” COVID community transmission rate, all residents and visitors regardless of vaccination status should wear masks and physically distance at all times. As of Monday, every county in New York has a high community transmission rate.

“We’re heading into the holiday season, and it’s going to bring so much joy that we weren’t able to have last year,” Sheedy explained.

Read the CMS guidance below: