Published March 18, 2020
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As nursing homes across the country face dramatically increased risk for coronavirus (COVID-19) infection cases, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking critical measures to keep residents safe.
The CMS announced the following actions on March 13 to be implemented immediately:
During permitted end-of-life visitations, visitors will be equipped with personal protective equipment, and the visit will be limited to a specific room.
The nursing home protective measures being taken by the CMS are based on recommendations put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Older adults – especially those who have underlying health conditions – are at the highest risk of severe symptoms and death from COVID-19 infection. Nursing homes have become a source of outbreaks across the country because of this elevated risk.
“As we learn more about the Coronavirus from experts on the ground, we’ve learned that seniors with multiple conditions are at highest risk for infection and complications, so CMS is using every tool at our disposal to keep nursing homes free from infection,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
“Temporarily restricting visitors and nonessential workers will help reduce the risk of Coronavirus spread in nursing homes, keeping residents safe.” – Seema Verma, CMS Administrator1
Additional nursing home recommendations from the CDC include:
The CDC also prepared a checklist of things that nursing homes can do to develop a COVID-19 response plan.
The checklist items include:
CMS is encouraging nursing homes to utilize virtual communication to help residents communicate with their families and to keep outsiders informed of their loved one’s care.
These measures include regular outbound communication and assigning staff members as primary contacts for inbound communications.