Black nurse caring for patient

Home health and hospice visits to skilled nursing and senior living facilities remained steady during the pandemic while family visitations plummeted, according to new data from Accushield

The company, which makes healthcare-focused sign-in kiosks, analyzed  127 million sign-ins at 6,000 SNF and senior living facilities in the U.S. and Canada during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It found family visits plunged by as much as 85% during that period, while visits from third-party providers, such as home health and hospice agencies, remained steady. 

“We knew that the pandemic would solidify the importance of a robust third-party care provider sign-in and screening process,” Accushield co-founder Charles Mann said. “Third-party care has become and will continue to be a vital part of senior living and skilled nursing operation.” 

The company also reported that December 2021 was the first time in 21 months that Accushield kiosks reported family visitation rates comparable to pre-pandemic levels. The company said a slow and steady increase in family visits correlated to the increase in overall vaccination rates. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services severely restricted all access to nursing homes in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. CMS made exceptions for healthcare workers, surveyors and outside personnel offering compassionate care, such as hospice staff.

Related articles:

CMS to providers: If no tests, don’t deny visitors

Surveyors citing more nursing homes for limiting visitors

Same-day physician access leads to fewer resident hospitalizations, ED visits

This article originally appeared on McKnights Home Care