On Wednesday, Feb. 24, The State Of Tennessee Decided To Lift Restrictions On Visiting Long-Term Care Facilities, Such As Nursing Homes.
Published February 26, 2021
When the pandemic first started, tight restrictions were put on these facilities in order to protect the at-risk patients inside.
Thanks to the federal long-term care facility pharmacy partnership in Tennessee, 100 percent of nursing homes and nursing facilities across the state have been able to administer both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Residential homes and other assisted care facilities in Tennessee are on track to finish both rounds of vaccines before the end of the week.
According to Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, “The health and safety of vulnerable Tennesseans, especially our long-term care residents, remains our top priority, and our comprehensive and persistent efforts to protect this population from COVID-19 have saved lives.”
She said, “Now that vaccinations at all long-term care facilities are nearing completion, we are ready to transition to a more sustainable approach of following these best practices for safe operation of long-term care facilities in Tennessee.”
All facilities across the state are projected to be completely done with both rounds of the vaccine before February 28, when the restrictions are set to be lifted.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee took to Twitter to share the news.
“As vaccinations at all long-term care facilities near completion, it is important that TN families have the opportunity to reunite with loved ones. This Sunday, February 28, state-specific visitation restrictions for long-term care facilities will end,” Lee said.
Even with no visitation restrictions, there are guidelines from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that Piercey has asked Tennesseans to follow.
These guidelines state that “nursing homes may allow indoor visitation when there has been no new onset of COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and the facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing.”
All Certified Medicare and Medicaid facilities will be asked to follow these guidelines even when the restrictions are no longer in place. This will include limiting the number of visitors allowed inside, maintaining social distancing, and wearing masks. Visitors will also be asked not to move around the facilities any more than necessary.
While indoor-visitation will be permitted, these facilities have been asked to have outdoor-visitation whenever possible. An outdoor visit is preferred, as long as the weather is permitting and a patient’s health status allows it.
“While CMS guidance has focused on protecting nursing home residents from COVID-19, we recognize that physical separation from family and other loved ones has taken a physical and emotional toll on residents. Residents may feel socially isolated, leading to increased risk for depression, anxiety, and other expressions of distress,” CMS said when revisiting the previous restrictions and guidelines.
Other long-term facilities that are licensed by the state but not certified by CMS, such as assisted care and residential living facilities, may not have to adhere to the same visitation practices.
However, the Tennessee Health Department has still urged them to look at the CMS guidelines in order to come up with an appropriate visitor policy for their own facility.