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Visitation Plan Overview for New York Wingate Skilled Nursing Facilities – Effective Mar 26, 2021

Visitation Plan Overview for New York Wingate Skilled Nursing Facilities – Effective Mar 26, 2021

EFFECTIVE MARCH 26, 2021

Updated visitation plan for New York Wingate skilled nursing facilities:

This visitation plan applies to, but is not limited to, family members, loved ones, representatives from the long-term care ombudsman program (LTCOP) and other resident advocacy organizations.
Wingate Healthcare maintains full compliance with both state and federal reporting requirements including COVID-19 focus surveys, daily HERDS, weekly staff testing surveys, and the federally required weekly submission of COVID-19 data to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).
A copy of this visitation plan will be available at each facility.

General guidance:

Visitation can be conducted through different means based on a facility’s structure and residents’ needs, such as in resident rooms, dedicated visitation spaces, outdoors, and for circumstances beyond compassionate care situations. Infection Control practices are adhered to at all times during visitation in order to reduce the risk of COVID -19 transmission in the facility; for visitors, these include:

  • Screening of all who enter the facility for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., temperature checks, questions about and observations of signs or symptoms), and denial of entry of those with signs or symptoms or those who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 infection in the prior 14 days (regardless of the visitor’s vaccination status);
  • Hand hygiene (use of alcohol-based hand rub is preferred);
  • The use of face coverings or masks (covering mouth and nose);
  • Social distancing at least six feet between persons;

Visitors who are unable to adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention should not be permitted to visit or should be asked to leave.

Outdoor Visitation:

Outdoor visitation is preferred even when the resident and visitor are fully vaccinated* against COVID-19. Outdoor visits generally pose a lower risk of transmission due to increased space and airflow. Please be reminded that visits should be held outdoors whenever practicable. However, weather considerations or an individual resident’s health status (e.g., medical condition(s), COVID-19 status) may hinder outdoor visits.

Indoor Visitation:

Facilities should allow indoor visitation at all times and for all residents (regardless of vaccination status), except for a few circumstances when visitation should be limited due to a high risk of COVID-19 transmission (exception- compassionate care visits should be permitted at all times). These scenarios include limiting indoor visitation for:

  • Unvaccinated residents if the nursing home’s COVID-19 county positivity rate Is >10% AND <70% of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated;
  • Residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated until they have met the criteria to discontinue Transmission-Based Precautions; OR
  • Residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met criteria for release from quarantine.

Facilities should consider how the number of visitors per resident at one time and the total number of visitors in the facility at one time may affect the ability to maintain the core principles of infection prevention. In addition, nursing homes should:

  • Consider scheduling visits for a specified length of time to help ensure all residents are able to receive visitors.
  • Limit visitor movement in the facility.
  • If possible, for residents who share a room, visits should not be conducted in the resident’s room.
  • For situations where there is a roommate and the health status of the resident prevents leaving the room, facilities should attempt to enable in- room visitation while adhering to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention.
  • Allow for, if the resident is fully vaccinated, they can choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor while wearing a well-fitting face mask and performing hand-hygiene before and after. Regardless, visitors should physically distance from other residents and staff in the facility.

Indoor Visitation During an Outbreak:

When a new case of COVID-19 among residents or staff is identified, the facility will immediately begin outbreak testing and suspend all visitation (except that required under federal disability rights law), until at least one round of facility-wide testing is completed. Visitation can resume based on the following criteria:

  • If the first round of outbreak testing reveals no additional COVID-19 cases in other areas (e.g., units) of the facility, then visitation can resume for residents in areas/units with no COVID-19 cases. However, the facility should suspend visitation on the affected unit until the facility meets the criteria to discontinue outbreak testing.
  • For example, if the first round of outbreak testing reveals two more COVID-19 cases in the same unit as the original case, but not in other units, visitation can resume for residents in areas/units with no COVID-19 cases.
  • If the first round of outbreak testing reveals one or more additional COVID-19 cases in other areas/units of the facility (e.g., new cases in two or more units), then facility will suspend visitation for all residents (vaccinated and unvaccinated), until the facility meets the criteria to discontinue outbreak testing.

While the above scenarios describe how visitation can continue after one round of outbreak testing, the facility will continue all necessary rounds of outbreak testing. This policy provides information on how visitation can occur during an outbreak but does not change any expectations for testing and adherence to infection prevention and control practices. If subsequent rounds of outbreak testing identify one or more additional COVID-19 cases in other areas/units of the facility, the facility will suspend visitation for all residents (vaccinated and unvaccinated), until the facility meets the criteria to discontinue outbreak testing.

If any visitor fails to adhere to the protocol, he/she/they will be prohibited from visiting for the duration of the COVID-19 state-declared public health emergency.

Compassionate Visits:

Compassionate Care Visits: This guidance further clarifies that Compassionate Care Visits are permitted when visitation may not otherwise be permitted in accordance with the Department’s current visitation guidance, and facilities may waive requirement of a visitor presenting a negative COVID-19 test prior to commencement of such visit under any of the below circumstances. Compassionate care visits should include:

  • Newly admitted residents with difficulty adjusting to the facility environment and lack of in-person family support.
  • Residents recently grieving the loss of a friend or loved one.
  • Residents who previously received in-person support and/or cueing from family for eating and drinking and are now experiencing dehydration and/or weight loss.
  • Residents who are exhibiting signs and symptoms of emotional distress including, but not limited to, seldom speaking or crying more frequently (when the resident had rarely cried in the past), refusing to participate in an activity or activities, staying in bed longer than usual, or exhibiting behavior considered abnormal for the individual.
  • Residents who receive religious or spiritual support from clergy or another layperson.

REFERENCES:

COVID-19 – Skilled Nursing Facility Visitation Guidance