Safer Visits in Assisted Living Facilities – Updated November 19, 2020

DHS Logo Original 07/11/2018

Division of Quality Assurance: Assisted Living

Attn: Assisted Living Providers

Safer Visits in Assisted Living Facilities – Updated November 19, 2020

The vulnerable nature of people who live in assisted living facilities, combined with the risks of congregate living during a pandemic, has limited the ability for safe visits to occur. While this has been the safest approach to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it has created other unintended physical and emotional consequences for residents that may seriously threaten health and emotional well-being. The purpose of this guidance is to provide a balance between maintaining safety and supporting residents, family members, and staff.

If an assisted living facility determines they can effectively mitigate the risks associated with relaxed visitation restrictions, please refer to the recommendations for safer visits.

As the pandemic is affecting communities in different ways, facilities should regularly monitor local disease activity as a consideration when implementing visitation practices, but these should not be the sole factor in determining whether visits can occur. Resources for monitoring local disease activity levels include:

If there is not an outbreak in the facility, or if the outbreak is limited to a single unit, floor, or wing, the facility may allow visitation to a nonaffected unit, or within a wing or floor where an outbreak was identified if the outbreak is contained, and interventions are in place for continued containment.

The guidance includes preventive measures to reduce the chances of the introduction of COVID-19 into the facility, while mitigating the unintentional consequences of social isolation from family and other loved ones.