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⭒ New Developments

Can Long Term Care Facility Residents Go Home for the Holidays During the Pandemic?

While recognizing they have a right to do so, public authorities are recommending that residents not leave facilities to gather together with loved ones during the public health emergency. In recent days, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) have all issued alerts discouraging residents from participating in in-person family gatherings during the holidays.

What happens to those who leave? Authorities are urging them to minimize risks and are recommending various precautions to limit exposure to the virus. Although residents have the right to return following a holiday gathering, authorities have directed nursing homes and assisted living facilities to screen and monitor residents carefully, to test them when indicated, and, when appropriate, to quarantine returning residents for 14 days. CANHR recommends residents and their representatives speak to facility management – in advance – about any plans they have for holiday outings and seek information, preferably in writing, about the facility’s protocols for returning to the facility.

On November 19, the Center for Medicare Advocacy updated its annual alert – Home for the Holidays: Leaving the Nursing Home During a Medicare-Covered Stay – to address the recent CMS guidance to residents, families and facilities on family holiday gatherings during the pandemic.

Read the November 18, 2020 CMS alert to Nursing Home Residents and Their Families on Holiday Gathering and Outings.
Read the November 20, 2020 CDPH All Facility Letter 20-86.1 to Long Term Care Facilities on COVID-19 Infection Control Recommendations during Holiday Celebrations
Read the November 20, 2020 CDSS Provider Information Notice 20-42-ASC on COVID-19 Infection Control Guidance for Celebrations and Outings