Visitation Allowed at All Times in Nursing Homes

On March 8, 2023, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revised its nursing home visitation guidance issued during COVID-19. Now, visitation is allowed at all times. The notice, which includes a frequently asked questions attachment with examples, states in part:

Facilities shall not restrict visitation without a reasonable clinical or safety cause, consistent with 42 CFR § 483.10(f)(4)(v). In previous nursing home visitation guidance during the PHE, CMS outlined some scenarios related to COVID-19 that would constitute a clinical or safety reason for limited visitation. However, there are no longer scenarios related to COVID-19 where visitation should be limited, except for certain situations when the visit is limited to being conducted in the resident’s room. Therefore, a nursing home must facilitate in-person visitation consistent with the applicable CMS regulations, which can be done by applying the guidance stated above. Failure to facilitate visitation, per 42 CFR § 483.10(f)(4), which states “The resident has a right to receive visitors of his or her choosing at the time of his or her choosing, subject to the resident’s right to deny visitation when applicable, and in a manner that does not impose on the rights of another resident,” would constitute a potential violation and the facility would be subject to citation and enforcement actions.

The updated CMS notice does encourage visitors to be vaccinated and tested for COVID-19. “However, if a visitor, resident, or their representative is aware of the risks associated with visitation, and the visit occurs in a manner that does not place other residents at risk (e.g., in the resident’s room), the resident must be allowed to receive visitors as he/she chooses.

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