State releases guidance for Missouri long-term care sites to offer visits again

Elderly person in Wheelchair

Missouri has unveiled revised guidance for long-term care places, including nursing homes and assisted living centers, to restart visits inside or outside. A press release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says each facility gets to decide whether to adopt the guidance.

Centers without any cases of COVID-19 among staff or residents, or those that have not had a facility-acquired case in the past 14 days, can allow indoor visits for residents who do not or are not suspected of having COVID-19 (or who have been released from isolation).

Outdoor visits can occur in any site for residents who do not or are not suspected to have COVID-19 (or who have been released from isolation). The guidelines say five visitors can be designated for each resident, with two allowed to be present at a given time by appointment and with social distancing being used. Proper hand hygiene and face coverings should be used.

In accordance with updated federal guidance, the centers must allow visits by outside health care providers and the Ombudsman program.

Each resident can have one essential caregiver designated through the Essential Caregiver program. Designated by the resident (or guardian or legal representative), essential caregivers are able to provide health care services or assistance with daily activities to help maintain or improve the quality of care or quality of life. This could include assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, or emotional support. One additional essential caregiver can also be designated if the individual is a clergy member.

With all types of visits, screening of individuals should be in place along with proper PPE use and infection control measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among facility residents.

Since March, more than 650 Missouri long-term care sites have reported at least one case of COVID-19 among staff or residents.