This is a frightening and confusing time for residents of long-term care facilities and their families as New York’s Department of Health has severely restricted visitation in these facilities. This is a brief guide to visitation rights in long term care facilities for residents, families and advocates.

Visitation Allowed in Long Term Care Facilities When:

  • No new COVID-19 cases in the Nursing Home in 14 days

Exceptions: Visitation permitted for cases when there is a pending terminal illness, or “end of life” situations and a determination that “compassionate care” is needed. (Defined below)

  • There is adequate staffing in the Nursing Home to accommodate the special visit requirements
  • There is adequate testing of residents (all residents have been tested)
  • Visitors present a negative COVID-19 test within 7 days of the visit and pass screening questions – except for end of life and compassionate care visits
  • All visitors and residents wear face masks or face coverings
  • Social distancing is maintained (6 feet apart)
  • Hand sanitizer is available
  • Only two visitors are allowed per resident at any one time
  • The number of visitors does not exceed 10% of resident census at any time
  • Visitors are over age 18

Visitation when Nursing Homes are in Red Micro-Cluster Zone or Orange Warning Zone

Visitation when Nursing Homes are in Red Micro-Cluster Zone or Orange Warning Zone

No visitation when Nursing Home is in a “Red Zone” (defined below) except for:

  • Compassionate Care
  • End of Life/Hospice
  • Medically or clinically necessary (i.e. visitor is essential to the care of the patient)
  • Essential companions to individuals with cognitive impairments, including dementia

 

 

 

No visitation in an Orange Zone if:

Staff member or resident in facility has tested COVID-19 in the last 14 days except for:

  • Compassionate Care
  • End of Life/Hospice
  • Medically or clinically necessary
  • Necessary legal representatives
  • Essential companions to individuals with cognitive impairments, including dementia

 

 

ombudsman

The Ombudsman Program

The Ombudsman Program is an effective advocate and resource for older adults and people with disabilities who live in nursing homes, among other settings. Ombudsmen help residents understand and exercise their rights to good care in an environment that promotes and protects their dignity and quality of life.  Phone: 855-582-6769

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The Future of Visitation

If the Nursing Home does not satisfy all of the safety conditions or there is an uptick in the number of positive COVID-19 cases called “micro clusters,” such as the declaration of red or orange zones in the local area or other legitimate infection control concerns, visitation may be limited again. On October 23, 2020 an Executive Order established that all congregate care visitations in red zones were suspended.  The Order listed compassion care exceptions as above or visits for: medical/clinical necessary care, involving minors, necessary and essential companions for person with intellectual disabilities, and necessary legal representatives. Orange zone rules are more flexible, but if a staff member or resident of a facility has tested positive for COVID in the last 14 days, visitation will be suspended with the same exceptions stated above.