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Track the Status of Nursing Home Visits in Your State

Some facilities are accepting visitors, but protocols vary widely

En español | Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have started to gradually reopen to visitors, allowing residents to reconnect with their loved ones.

The federal government established benchmarks in mid-May for state and local officials to determine when nursing home visits could resume, but urged “extreme caution” and said the facilities should be “among the last to reopen” in communities lifting pandemic-related restrictions. Officials revised those benchmarks in mid-September, encouraging many facilities that are not dealing with an active coronavirus outbreak to welcome outdoor and indoor visits.

States’ willingness to allow visitors for facilities and their vulnerable residents — potentially increasing their risk of exposure to the coronavirus — has varied, and there are huge variations among individual facilities, even in the same state. Nursing homes that don't have access to enough outdoor space, personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies may need to think carefully about adopting outdoor visits, health experts say. And some states and facilities are requiring visitors to fill out additional paperwork or sign visitation agreements.

"The responses should really be tailored to your environment — not just your state, but your local microclimates and your local prevalence of disease,” says David Nace, M.D., president of the nonprofit Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine and chief medical officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Senior Communities assisted living and skilled nursing operations.

Assisted living facilities have in some cases opened up to visitors more quickly than nursing homes. Officials in Ohio, for example, approved assisted living visits over a month before they did the same for nursing homes. But guidance for nursing homes and assisted living facilities has been similar at the federal and state levels, and visiting access to assisted living also varies between states and even between neighboring communities.

Masks, social distancing practices and temperature screenings are typically required for anyone entering a nursing home or long-term care facility. Facilities should be fully staffed, coronavirus-free and have adequate personal protective equipment and testing resources on hand before considering in-person visits, says Elaine Ryan, vice president for state advocacy and strategy at AARP.

"Sadly, many facilities have not met these criteria,” she says. “If facilities meet CDC requirements, then outdoor visitation should be available to all residents. Universality and equity is critical."

Here's where each state stands on nursing home and long-term care visitors:


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What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. Visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing, and only one visitor is allowed at a time.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Only compassionate care visits in specific circumstances, which include medical and emotional care for residents with terminal diagnoses or who are in end-of-life situations. But the state at the end of June released guidelines for the reopening of long-term care facilities. If facilities meet certain requirements over a two-week period, they can begin offering outdoor visits.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Division of Health Care Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Facilities in counties that have met certain health requirements may allow outdoor visits, provided temperatures are considered safe for residents. Indoor visits are limited to compassionate care situations and to facilities in counties with minimal coronavirus spread. Facilities may also allow indoor visits to those who present a negative coronavirus test, wear a mask and sign a document verifying that they've been in self-isolation.

Where can I learn more?

Check in with the Arizona Department of Health Services for more information on how the state is responding to the coronavirus.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. No more than two visitors per resident are permitted, and visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing. Outdoor visits are preferred when possible if facilities are accepting visitors.

Where can I learn more?

Read the Arkansas Department of Health’s latest guidelines.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. No more than one visitor per resident is allowed inside a facility, and visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible.

Where can I learn more?

Read the California Department of Public Health’s latest guidelines.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible, and visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing. The number of visitors allowed depends on the amount of space each facility provides.

Where can I learn more?

Read the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s latest guidelines.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible, and visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing. The number of visitors allowed is determined by individual facilities.

Where can I learn more?

Read the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s latest guidelines.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Facilities may submit outdoor and indoor visitation plans to the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. Visitors and residents must wear face masks and practice social distancing. Indoor visits will be limited to no more than two guests per resident.

Where can I learn more?

See the latest guidance from the Department of Health and Social Service.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing. The number of visitors allowed is determined by individual facilities.

Where can I learn more?

Read District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser’s latest guidelines for phase 2 reopening.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. Visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing. In October, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced outdoor visits would be allowed to continue at facilities with confirmed coronavirus cases. DeSantis also relaxed restrictions on the number of visitors allowed at a facility at a given time.

Where can I learn more?

Read the annoucement from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Gov. Brian Kemp issued a plan in mid-September for nursing homes to begin accepting visitors. Among other requirements, facilities can begin scheduling outdoor visits if they are in counties with low transmission rates and if they have remained free of an outbreak for at least 28 days. The plan eventually paves the way for indoor visits, but outdoor visits will be preferred until facilities meet certain benchmarks. Visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Read Gov. Kemp's executive order.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Only compassionate care visits in specific circumstances, such as end-of-life situations and medical and emotional care for residents with terminal diagnoses. In November, Hawaii’s health department began sending grant money to nursing homes that are buying furniture and equipment for outdoor in-person visits.

Where can I learn more?

Learn more from the Hawaii State Department of Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

With most of the state in the final phase of reopening, visitors are allowed to return to nursing homes. Idaho’s stage 4 Stay Healthy Guidelines advise visitors to “be diligent regarding hygiene and physical distancing.”

Where can I learn more?

Consult the state’s coronavirus information web page.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing. Only two visitors are allowed per resident.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the Illinois Department of Public Health’s outdoor visitation guidance.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible, and visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing. The number of visitors allowed is determined by individual facilities.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the Indiana State Department of Health’s Back on Track guidelines.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible, and visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing. The number of visitors allowed is determined by individual facilities.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the Iowa Department of Public Health’s long-term care guidance.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. The Kansas Health Care Association recommends facilities explore outdoor visits if they have not yet met indoor-visit requirements. All visitors must wear a mask.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the latest guidance from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours, with indoor visits beginning Nov. 16. All visitors and residents must wear a mask and maintain physical distancing. Compassionate care visits will still be allowed.

Where can I learn more?

Read the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services guidance.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. The Louisiana Department of Health has deferred to federal guidelines laid out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, allowing outdoor and indoor visits at facilities that have met certain requirements and are not experiencing an outbreak. Visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Read the guidance issued by Gov. Edwards.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the visitation guidelines from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the latest nursing home guidance from the governor’s office.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Massachusetts in June became the first state to resume nursing home visits. At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible, and visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the state’s public health guidance and directives.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ latest guidance.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, family and friends may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks “as tolerated.”

Where can I learn more?

Consult the Minnesota Department of Health’s latest visitation guidelines.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing. Only two visitors are allowed per resident.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the latest guidance from the Mississippi State Department of Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the latest reopening guidance from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that meet certain requirements and have decided to ease restrictions, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. The state is advising facilities adhere to strict screening, physical distancing and sanitation protocols.

Where can I learn more?

See Gov. Steve Bullock’s latest nursing home visitation guidance.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitation at long-term care facilities depends on the local health district’s phase status as well as meeting certain requirements. For those facilities that can welcome visitors, visits may be scheduled during specified hours. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible, and visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing. The number of visitors allowed is determined by individual facilities.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ long-term care guidance.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits. Indoor visits will be allowed to take place at facilities that meet certain criteria starting on Oct. 19. Visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the guidance for long-term care facilities from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours with an appointment. Indoor visits are limited to compassionate care situations and to residents who cannot go outside because of a physical disability. Visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing. Only two visitors are allowed per resident.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the latest visitation guidance from the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing. Only two visitors are allowed per resident.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the New Jersey Department of Health’s latest guidance.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing. Only facilities in certain counties are permitted to reopen.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the New Mexico Department of Health’s long-term care visitation plan.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours and on a limited basis. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible, and visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing. Each resident will be allowed two visitors at a time, and at least one of these visitors must be at least 18 years old. Visits are restricted in counties with high levels of coronavirus community spread.

Where can I learn more?

Consult Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest guidance.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the latest guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

All facilities may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours, and indoor visits are open to facilities that have met certain reopening protocols. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible, and visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Consult Gov. Doug Burgum’s long-term care reopening guidance.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours and on a limited basis. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible, and visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing. Each resident will be allowed two visitors at a time.

Where can I learn more?

Read the order from the Ohio Department of Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible. Visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Read the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s phased reopening guidelines.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible, and visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing. Indoor visits have been temporarily suspended in certain counties with high rates of community spread.

Where can I learn more?

Read the Oregon Health Authority’s reopening guidance.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Only compassionate care visits in specific circumstances, which include medical and emotional care for residents with terminal diagnoses or who are in end-of-life situations. The state has adopted a phased reopening plan that will eventually allow visitors to return to facilities that have managed to stay coronavirus-free for a set period.

Where can I learn more?

Read the guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

In early November, the Rhode Island Department of Health recommended nursing homes limit all visits for two weeks, except compassionate care visits and those required under federal guidance.

Where can I learn more?

Read the Rhode Island Department of Health’s latest visiting guidance.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s latest nursing home guidance.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible, and visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing. Indoor visits are dependent on whether the facility has met certain disease prevention requirements related to staffing and infection prevention.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the state’s long-term care reopening checklist.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible, and visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing. Visits may take place in a resident’s room if the visitor documents a negative test result for coronavirus within 72 hours before the visit.

Where can I learn more?

Consult Gov. Bill Lee’s latest visitation guidelines.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Consult Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest nursing home visitation guidance.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing. Only two visitors are allowed per resident.

Where can I learn more?

Read Utah’s guidance for visitors in nursing facilities.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Read the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living’s guidelines for outdoor visits.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the Virginia Department of Health’s nursing home reopening guidance.

What kind of visits are allowed?

 At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Limited indoor visits are allowed at some faciltiies, based on where they are in the state’s phased reopening. Visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Read the latest guidance from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

In late August, Gov. Jim Justice restored visits to nursing homes in West Virginia. He had previously suspended visitation as cases among residents spiked. Restrictions vary based on counties' virus transmission rates. But all counties allow compassionate care visits for residents with certain terminal diagnoses and those who are in end-of-life situations.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the nursing home reopening plan from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the long-term care facility guidelines from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have decided to reopen and meet certain requirements, visitors may schedule outdoor visits during specified hours. Indoor visits are still limited to compassionate care situations. Visitors and residents must wear masks and maintain physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Consult the Wyoming Department of Health’s outdoor visitation guidelines.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect new information.
 

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