While COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has largely focused on protecting nursing home residents from COVID-19 infections, CMS also recognizes that physical separation from family and other loved ones has taken a physical and emotional toll on nursing home residents and their loved ones. Residents may feel socially isolated, leading to increased risk for depression, anxiety and expressions of distress.  

In light of this, CMS has revised the guidance regarding visitation in nursing homes it created during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE).

Although the PHE ended May 11, CMS still expects facilities to adhere to infection prevention and control (IPC) recommendations in accordance with accepted national standards such as:

  • Hand hygiene.
  • Use of face coverings.
  • Posting of visual alerts (e.g., signs, posters) at the entrance and in strategic places (e.g., waiting areas, elevators, cafeterias). These alerts should include instructions about current IPC recommendations, such as when to use source control. 

For additional information see QSO-20-39-NH Revised 05/08/2023.