Restrictive Visitation Policies and Safety Mandates at Bethesda – with Holiday Leave Guidance and Access to COVID-19 Vaccination Websites

Bethesda Health | December 1, 2020

Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Communities

Effective Tuesday November 10, 2020, due to high positivity of COVID-19 in St. Louis County, all of Bethesda’s skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in Missouri must restrict indoor visitation per guidance from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).

As a result, indoor visitation at its skilled nursing and assisted living communities is limited to end-of-life and compassionate care visits, and only when appropriate conditions are met. Outdoor visitation can still be accommodated.

Per the Illinois Department of Public Health’s adoption of the CMS guidance in October, the indoor visitation restrictions already had been implemented at Bethesda’s Illinois facility.

The topics addressed within the CMS guidance included the establishment of changes to the current visitation restriction policy in skilled nursing and assisted living communities. Bethesda is adopting the guidance, in accordance with the vast safety restrictions described within, that accommodate the guidance provided by each state’s Department of Health.

To review the guidance from DHSS, click here.


With the availability of FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines anticipated within the next few weeks or months, the Departments of Health in both Missouri and Illinois have launched informational websites. To access the Missouri website, click here.  To access the Illinois website, click here.


The restrictive policies enforced by Bethesda for outdoor visitation at those communities whose campuses provide an opportunity for outdoor visits has not changed as a result of the Nov. 10 guidance. 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.

Individuals wanting to conduct a compassionate care visit or an outdoor visit 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 skilled nursing or assisted living community.


Holiday Leave Guidance from CMS and DHSS

On November 18, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) both submitted guidance regarding holiday leave from nursing homes and assisted living communities. The guidance was provided beginning with Thanksgiving, but it is applicable through Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s. To read the CMS guidance, click here. To read the DHSS guidance, click here.

From all of us at Bethesda Health Group, have a safe and healthy holiday season.


Independent Living/Retirement Communities

Per new guidance provided by the St. Louis County Executive’s office on November 13, 2020, all visitation in our Independent Living/Retirement communities is being discouraged at this time.

In addition, beginning at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, in compliance with orders issued by the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, the dining rooms in our Independent Living/Retirement communities will be closed.  Residents will be given the option of picking up their meals or having them delivered.

The following restrictions also are in place:

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.

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