The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which regulate nursing facilities, are lifting the ban on visitors, effective immediately. CMS imposed the restriction in March in an effort to control outbreaks of the coronavirus.
Advocates for nursing home residents and family organizations have been clamoring for a repeal, noting the many residents who have suffered anxiety or depression, as well as physical or mental decline since the ban was imposed. The issue was also raised in the report of the Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes, which became public on Wednesday.
Now, all nursing homes can allow outdoor visits with social distancing, as a few states have recently allowed. And most nursing homes can allow indoor visits as long as there have been no new COVID-19 infections in the past 2 weeks and the infection rate in the surrounding county is no more than 10%. But CMS recommends that nursing homes limit how many visitors a resident can have at one time, as well as limiting the number of visitors that can be in the facility at once.