Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Communities
On Tuesday, September 22, 2020, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) adopted guidance put forth by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Thursday, September 17, 2020. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced adoption of the guidance on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020
The topics addressed within the guidance included the establishment of changes to the current visitation restriction policy in skilled nursing and assisted living communities.
Effective immediately, Bethesda is adopting the CMS guidance, in accordance with the vast safety restrictions described within, at its skilled nursing and assisted living communities. Individuals should inquire with facility administration on the status of the facility’s ability to accommodate indoor visitation.
To review the guidance from DHSS, click here.
This new guidance addresses both outdoor and indoor visitation. Outdoor visits remain the preferred visitation option to further reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission. The restrictive policies enforced by Bethesda for outdoor visitation at those communities whose campuses provide an opportunity for outdoor visits has not changed. Outdoor visits remain limited to residents who are COVID-19 negative or asymptomatic, and a distance of at least six feet is kept between resident and visitor. These visits are to be coordinated through the facility’s Activities/Life Enrichment team.
Previously, indoor visits at Bethesda skilled nursing and assisted living communities were limited to individuals conducting an end-of-life or compassionate care visit. The guidance softens the indoor visitation restrictions, incorporating the following among its many criteria:
- 14 days have elapsed since the last facility-acquired COVID-19 positive case (resident or employee).
- Residents are COVID-19 negative or asymptomatic and not suspected to have COVID-19
- Spaces are created within the facility in rooms without regular foot traffic
- Five potential visitors are identified and submitted to the facility, with only two visitors allowed at a time. An appointment is required.
- A distance of at least six feet must be kept at all times between resident and visitors, with hand hygiene used before and after the visit and a cloth face covering worn throughout the visit by both resident and visitors.
To access the complete list of criteria in the guidance, click here.
Individuals wanting to conduct a visit, regardless of indoor/outdoor location, must be willing to submit to a temperature screening and able to answer “NO” to questions related to signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
Virtual visits (Skype, Zoom, etc.) with residents and patients continue to be coordinated by the Life Enrichment/Activities Directors at each Missouri skilled nursing or assisted living community.
Independent Living/Retirement Communities
Per the July 1, 2020 order issued by leadership from St. Louis County and St. Louis City, all residents and visitors are mandated to wear masks throughout a visit, regardless of whether the visit occurs in a the resident’s apartment or villa home, or outdoors. Please check with the General Manager at each location for specific details about visiting within the building.
To review the St. Louis County order mandating the wearing of masks, click here.
Individuals wanting to visit in an independent living (retirement) community at Bethesda must be willing to submit to a temperature screening and be able to answer “NO” to the following CMS-recommended criteria before they will be allowed into the community:
- Signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat.
- In the last 14 days, has had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, or under investigation for COVID-19, or is ill with respiratory illness.
- International travel within the last 14 days to countries with sustained community transmission. For updated information on affected countries, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Residing in a community where community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring.
The following restrictions also are in place:
- Dining room capacity is limited to 25% of available seating at each meal. Masks and social distancing is mandatory up until food service begins. Hand sanitizer usage is required by all dining room attendees. Residents who prefer to dine in their apartment may order and pick up their meals or request delivery.
- Resident activities are occurring within the common areas only, and are restricted to groups of 10 or fewer and require reservations. Masks and social distancing are required throughout the activity. Hand-washing and hand sanitizer usage is required at the completion of the activity. Activity areas are cleaned before and after each activity.
- Transportation services offered by Bethesda are restricted to medical appointments in medical office buildings, including those located in hospital campuses.
- Families wanting to deliver groceries or medicine to a resident should contact the General Manager.
We appreciate your understanding and compliance with these restrictions regarding visitation and entering these resident communities. If you have any further questions, please call the management of the resident community for which you seek information.
To review the CDC recommended guidelines regarding limiting visitation in independent living communities, click here.