US nursing homes are given the go-ahead to welcome visitors for the first time since the start of the pandemic – after complaints elderly residents were suffering because they hadn’t seen their loved ones in SIX MONTHS
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a ban on nursing home visits back in March, due to the coronavirus pandemic
- Exceptions were only made for critical care visits, but some states eventually allowed outdoor visits with strict social distancing requirements
- Now, the CMS has mandated that all US nursing homes must allow visitors inside their facilities so long as there has been no COVID cases for 14 days
- The surrounding county will also have to have a coronavirus positivity rate of less than 10 percent
- The news has been welcomed by many Americans eager to be reunited with loved ones inside nursing homes
- Facility directors will have to remain vigilant; at least a quarter of Americans who have died from COVID-19 have been nursing home residents
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Residents in nursing homes across the country will now be allowed to welcome visitors for the first time in six months.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a ban on family members visiting nursing facilities back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Exceptions were made only for critical care and end-of-life situations.
But on Friday, the ban was lifted, effective immediately, following widespread complaints that nursing home patients were suffering from anxiety and depression without visits from loved ones.
All nursing homes across the United States must now allow outdoor visits or risk potential sanctions if they refuse to do so.
Residents in nursing homes across the country will now be allowed to welcome visitors for the first time in six months following changes made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Friday. Pictured: An elderly resident of a Maryland nursing home looks at her granddaughter and great grand-children through a window of the facility back in April
A married couple watch one another through the window at a Tennessee nursing home back in April
Indoor visits will be be allowed so long as there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus at the facility in the past 14 days and the county’s infection rate is below 10 percent. Pictured: A Texas man sitting outside the window of his wife’s nursing home late last month
Some states, including Illinois and Massachusetts, have already been allowing visitors to meet with residents in outdoor spaces for much of the summer.
However, the new CMS rules will also let loved ones inside nursing homes as the colder weather approaches.
Indoor visits must be allowed so long as there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus at the facility in the past 14 days.
The infection rate in the surrounding county will also have to be below 10 percent for visitors to get indoors.
CMS recommends that nursing homes limit the number of visitors allowed to see a resident at any one time, and all visitors must wear face masks.
The news has been warmly received on social media.
‘Awesome! It’s so sad to have to tell people they can’t have visitors!’ one person stated on Twitter.
‘Good news to hear that I will be able to visit my mom indoors especially going into the fall & winter!’ another said.
However, nursing home operators will need to remain vigilant, with the facilities often at the center of coronavirus outbreaks.
Most residents are elderly, and therefore at greater risk of being adversely affected by the virus.
Some states, including Illinois and Massachusetts, have already been allowing visitors to meet with residents in outdoor spaces for much of the summer. Pictured: A granddaughter visits her grandfather at a Massachusetts care home in July
More than one quarter of all coronavirus deaths have occurred inside nursing homes, according to CMS data
According to CMS, there have been at least 54,317 confirmed nursing home deaths across the country, accounting for more than a quarter of the country’s entire COVID-19 death toll.
Back in June, The New York Times reported that up to 40 percent of all US coronavirus deaths were linked to nursing homes.
In New York state, Governor Cuomo has faced widespread criticism for a policy that ordered nursing homes to take in COVID-19 patients.
There have been at least 6,651 reported coronavirus deaths inside New York state nursing homes and other long term care facilities.
However, the exact number has not yet been revealed and is ‘cloaked in secrecy’, according to Reuters.
Despite the relaxing of rules, the United States continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic, with thousands still dying from the virus each and every week