Long-term care providers are seeking clarity on nursing home visitation after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday issued new guidance relaxing restrictions for fully vaccinated people living in private homes.
The new guidance allows for fully vaccinated individuals to visit indoors with others who have been completely inoculated without wearing a mask or physical distancing.
A fully vaccinated individual is defined as a person who is at least two weeks out from receiving the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.
Monday’s recommendations specifically apply to people in “non-healthcare settings.” It’s unclear how the new recommendations will specifically impact the long-term care sector but the revised guidance is “welcomed progress,” the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living said in a statement.
“Our dedicated staff members have done an extraordinary job filling in for loved ones and adapting visitations during this difficult time, but nothing can replace engaging with family members in-person. For our residents’ health and wellbeing, we are eager to safely reopen and reunite loved ones, now that millions have been fully vaccinated,” the association told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.
AHCA/NCAL called on the CDC to “bring clarity to the long-term care community as soon as possible.”
“This progress reinforces how significant COVID-19 vaccines are to offering new hope to older adults — and that we can’t forget those who are in residential care settings, like nursing homes,” said LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan on Monday.
“Throughout the pandemic, COVID has had an outsized impact on older people, and the ripple effects of restrictions have meant physical, emotional, and mental hardship for many months now. That’s why it’s especially good news that the CDC is offering new ways for people to safely and healthily connect more with friends and family,” she said in a statement to McKnight’s.
“We hope to see additional guidance from CDC and CMS specifically for long-term care that will ease restrictions in a way that is safe,” she added.
CMS did not return a McKnight’s request for comment by production deadline.