Dunklau Gardens Visitor Policy
Latest COVID-19 Update
CMS Update on Nursing Home Visitation Guidance QSP-20-39-NH
While our community transmission rates remain "orange" or substantial, CMS has deemed that these alone will not factor into limitations on visitation in nursing facilities as they have in the past. Following are changes for our facility effective Thursday 3/1/22.
Nursing Home Visitation Guidance:
- Dunklau Gardens has and continues to educate current and new residents/staff on the risks and benefits of vaccination, offering to administer the vaccine or booster shot and reporting all data on vaccination to the NHSN as required. Current vaccination status for our residents is 98% and staff vaccination status is much higher than the average at 95%. We also have a 97% booster vaccination rate for all eligible residents, which CMS defines as "up-to-date." We are proud of these rates and only strive to improve these percentages.
- While visitation, especially with others that are unvaccinated, poses a risk and is elevated where the county transmission level of COVID-19 is high, CMS feels that that adherence to the core principles of infection prevention mitigates some of these concerns. Core principles continue to be masking, hand hygiene, social distancing, visitor education on signs and symptoms of COVID-19, cleaning of high touch surfaces, effective cohorting of residents based on isolation status, and effective resident/staff testing based on CMS guidance. Therefore, residents may make choices about aspects of his or her life being aware of the risks associated with visitation and the visit occurs in a manner that does not place other residents at risk.
- The frequency of visitation, duration of the visit, or the number of visitors per resident will no longer be limited under this new guidance. Therefore, advanced scheduling is not required. We will still require adherence to the core principles, which includes social distancing during peak times.
- Screening for all visitor/staff/vendor continues to be required! This can only be ensured if visitors enter through the front entry where they can be assisted if needed, given a mask and offered the assistance that may be required. Education on the “core principles” will be immediately viewed at this location.
- Visitor movement will be limited throughout the facility during the visitation. This means that visitors should not travel throughout the facility and onto other units, going directly to the resident’s room or designated visit location. Visitors should also adhere to social distancing of 6’ from other residents in the facility.
- If a resident’s roommate is unvaccinated or immunocompromised (regardless of vaccination status), visits should not be conducted in the resident’s room posing an unnecessary risk to the roommate. Specified locations for visitation can be arranged.
- Our organization’s policy is for all staff and visitors to wear surgical grade masks during entry into any of our healthcare facilities. If the resident and the visitors are all fully vaccinated, up to date, and in the resident’s private room or other private location, they may “chose” to not to wear face coverings and to have physical contact. They must wear the mask again once they leave this area and are among others in the facility. Unvaccinated residents and/or visitors may choose close contact and physical touch and will be educated on the risks of potential exposure.
- While NOT recommended, residents who are in precautions or quarantine may still receive visitors. Visits will be confined to the resident’s room and should wear a well fitted surgical grade face mask. Visitors will be made aware of the potential risk of visitation and the precautions required during visitation. Adherence to the core principles is expected by all visitors.
- When a new case of COVID-19 has been identified, either in a staff member or a resident, the facility will continue to proceed into “outbreak” status and continue the defined outbreak testing protocol. While it is safer for visitors NOT to enter the facility during an outbreak, visitors will still be allowed in the facility. Signage will be posted at the entrance to the facility to notify all staff and visitors that the facility is currently in “outbreak status” and adherence to the “core principles” is required. Visits should ideally occur in the resident’s room unless this poses an undue risk to the roommate (as defined above).
- The facility ALWAYS encourages all staff and visitors to get vaccinated and receive the eligible booster, and can provide available education and locations for any visitors to seek their vaccination. Point of Care (POC) testing, for COVID-19, may be offered to visitors on a case by case basis. Visitors are encouraged to pursue their own testing before coming to the facility.
- Dunklau Gardens will continue to use the cohort plan (green, yellow, modified yellow, gray, red) to track and identify areas or residents that are in current quarantine or isolation status so that appropriate education to the visitor can occur prior to the visit and that adherence to the “core principles” is reinforced for safety.
- Communal activities such as bingo, crafts, movies etc. may be done while adhering to the core principles for infection prevention and appropriate alterations may be warranted to accomplish this.
- As we are doing currently, resident may leave the facility as they choose with the appropriate safety plans in place. The resident will be educated on the associated risks of being in the community and how to ensure their protection. Upon return they will assessed for the level of risk for COVID-19 exposure and the associated protocol will be followed. This may include POC testing and placement in quarantine for a known direct exposure.
- Any resident or staff member presenting with symptoms of COVID-19 will be tested, whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated. We will do the standard POC test (simple nasal swab) and potentially a confirmatory PCR test (nasopharyngeal swab) if necessary.
- Visitors who have a positive test for COVID-19, symptoms of COVID-19, or currently meet the criteria for quarantine (meaning they have had a direct exposure to someone with COVID-19) and SHOULD NOT enter the facility. Visitors with any known illness should also not visit the facility until the condition has resolved. Examples: cold and flu symptoms, diarrhea, etc.
As you may already know, the Methodist Health System has mandated staff vaccination, with allowable and approved medical and religious exception. Dunklau Gardens has met the mandated vaccination requirement set forth by the government with 100% vaccination status or eligible exemption.