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Tennessee to change nursing home visitation guidelines

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said Tuesday that the department will change visitation guidelines to nursing homes this week.
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 4:54 PM EST|Updated: 15 hours ago
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said Tuesday that the department will change visitation guidelines to nursing homes and long-term care facilities this week.

The new guidance will go into effect February 28.

“Essentially, because most of our nursing homes are completely finished with vaccinations … after that vaccination is complete, we will no longer be restricting any visitation at nursing homes. They will only be under the restrictions of their governing body,” she said.

The department of health released more information Wednesday:

Guidance for Visitation

The guidance issued by CMS provides reasonable ways a nursing home can safely facilitate in-person visits to address residents’ social and emotional needs. Certified Medicare and Medicaid facilities should continue to follow the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Visitation Guidance. Per this guidance, nursing homes may allow indoor visitation when there has been no new onset of COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and the facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing.

Long-term care facilities licensed by the state, which include Tennessee assisted care living facilities, residential homes for the aged and any nursing home not certified by CMS, should reference industry best practices including CMS Visitation Guidance and review related laws and rules when developing their own facility-specific visitation policies and procedures.

The CMS guidance outlines how facilities may expand communal dining and other group activities, provided infection control policies are followed. Even as COVID-19 case counts decline, facilities should remain vigilant in monitoring for COVID-19 cases among residents and staff members through appropriate screening and testing. Facilities may test visitors, which is encouraged, but not required. Additional resources on infection control practices are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The following resources are available for long-term care facilities when updating and developing their visitation policies and procedures.

CMS Visitation Guidance:

CDC Infection Control Resources:

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