Pennsylvania Nursing Homes Continuing to Follow March 2021 Guidelines

Date: June 18, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about great challenges for nursing home residents and their families. Because nursing home residents have been deemed an at-risk population for the Covid-19 virus, many residents have been deprived of physical interaction and visitation with their loved ones. In March 2021, nursing home visitation guidelines were updated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in which the state of Pennsylvania was urged to comply. Currently, nursing home facilities in Pennsylvania are continuing to follow the March 2021 guidelines.

What Do These Nursing Home Guidelines Entail?

The CMS guidelines finally allowed indoor nursing home visits between residents and their families regardless of a resident’s vaccination status. In addition, fully vaccinated residents were allowed to have close physical interaction with visitors with both parties still wearing masks. This particular guideline meant a great deal to nursing home residents as they were longing to be hugged by their beloved family members and friends.

However, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), there are some exceptions that restrict visitors from indoor access to nursing home facilities. First, unvaccinated residents will not be able to take part in visitation if there is a higher than ten percent county Covid-19 positivity rate and if the percentage of fully vaccinated nursing home residents is lower than seventy percent. Second, residents that test positive for Covid-19 will not be allowed visitors even if they are fully vaccinated. Finally, visitors will be restricted for residents in quarantine. The CMS guidelines also stress the importance of allowing “compassionate care visits.” This means that visitors would never be prohibited if a resident was facing death or severe pain and suffering.

In order to control the spread of the virus and to continue indoor visitation, the CMS strongly recommends that visitors receive the Covid-19 vaccine and maintain social distancing when visiting nursing home facilities. That being said, it is important to note that visitors do not have to show their vaccination cards upon entry to a nursing home facility. Also, despite Pennsylvania’s mask mandate removal set for June 28th, 2021, nursing homes will continue to require face masks.

Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney

The Covid-19 pandemic has strongly affected nursing home facilities worldwide! As a result, some residents have faced infection and even death. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected at their nursing home facility, please reach out to our experienced attorneys at DLP. Remember: Injury? Call DLP! (570) C-A-L-L-D-L-P.

Works Cited

Centers for Medical & Medicaid Services. “CMS Updates Nursing Home Guidance with Revised Visitation Recommendations.” CMS.gov, 10 March 2021, https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/cms-updates-nursing-home-guidance-revised-visitation-recommendations. Accessed 13 June 2021.

Ruland, Sam. “Pennsylvania will eliminate its Covid-19 mask requirements by June 28th, health officials say.” York Daily Record, 27 May 2021, https://www.ydr.com/story/news/2021/06/15/when-covid-pandemic-over-pa-cases-fall-mask-mandate-ends/7652571002/. Accessed 13 June 2021.

Thompson et al. “The Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Long-Term Care Facilities Worldwide: An Overview on International Issues.” Biomed Research International, vol. 2020, 2020, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2020/8870249/. Accessed 13 June 2021.

“Wolf Administration Strongly Encourages Long- Term Care Facilities to Implement Updated Visitation Guidance in Pennsylvania.” Pennsylvania Pressroom, 12 March 2021, https://www.media.pa.gov/pages/dhs_details.aspx?newsid=669. Accessed 13 June 2021.

Tara Lynott
Intern, Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP