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Track the Status of Nursing Home Visits in Your State

Many 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 they urged “extreme caution” and haven’t revised those benchmarks since September. Whether visitors have been permitted at individual facilities has depended mostly on the rate at which COVID-19 is spreading in the surrounding community and whether a facility is dealing with an active outbreak.

But policies vary from state to state, and there are huge variations among facilities even within the same state. And winter weather in some parts of the country has limited outdoor visits, which are generally considered by health experts to be safer than indoor visits. Some states and facilities are also requiring visitors to fill out additional paperwork or sign visitation agreements, and others have carved out rules for essential caregivers, who can bypass some of the restrictions imposed on other visitors.

"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 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 centers 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 and coronavirus-free, and have adequate personal protective equipment and testing resources on hand before considering in-person visits, says Elaine Ryan, vice president of state advocacy and strategy at AARP.

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


What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule appointments at facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in 14 days and are in counties with low levels of community spread. Visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors who have proof of a negative COVID-19 test can enter facilities if at least 80 percent of residents and staff have been vaccinated and the facility hasn't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days. Visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can enter facilities if they receive a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of their scheduled visit. But visitors don't need to show test results in areas with low community spread. Visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that have sufficient levels of staff and PPE and haven't had three or more new COVID-19 cases within the past two weeks, visitors can schedule visits during certain hours. Visitors will have their temperature taken upon arrival and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance form the Arkansas Department of Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule appointments at facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days and are in counties with low levels of community spread. Visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the California Department of Public Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule appointments at facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days and are in counties with low levels of community spread. Visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that 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.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Connecticut State Department of Public Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Outdoor visits are encouraged when weather permits for facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days. Indoor visits are only allowed in counties with low levels of COVID-19 community spread. Visitors will have their temperature taken upon arrival and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

At facilities that meet certain requirements and haven't had an outbreak in two weeks, visitors may schedule visits during specified hours. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible. Visitors and residents must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Read more from Mayor Muriel Bowser's latest reopening guidelines.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Outdoor visits are allowed regardless of whether a facility has an active COVID-19 outbreak, but indoor visits are allowed only in facilities that haven't had an outbreak in the past 14 days. Visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

Read the executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Facilities can accept visitors if they are in counties with low transmission rates and if they have remained free of an outbreak for at least 28 days. Outdoor visits are recommended when possible, and visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule visits at facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days and are in counties with low levels of community spread. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible. Visitors will be screened when they arrive and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule visits at facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days and are in counties with low levels of community spread. Visitors will be screened when they arrive and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule visits at facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days and are in counties with low levels of community spread. Visitors will be screened when they arrive and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule visits at facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days and are in counties with low levels of community spread. Visitors will be screened when they arrive and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Indiana State Department of Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule visits at facilities that haven't had three or more new COVID-19 cases within the past two weeks. Indoor visits are restricted in counties with high levels of community spread. Visitors will have their temperature taken upon arrival and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Outdoor visits are encouraged when weather permits, but indoor visits are only allowed at facilities that have gone 14 days without an outbreak and are located in counties with low levels of COVID-19 community spread. Visitors will have their temperature taken upon arrival and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Outdoor visits are allowed regardless of whether a facility has an active COVID-19 outbreak, but indoor visits are allowed only in facilities that haven't had an outbreak in the past 14 days. Visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from Kentucky's Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule visits at facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days and are in counties with low levels of community spread. Visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Louisiana Department of Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule visits at facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days and are in counties with low levels of community spread. Visitors must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule visits at facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days and are in counties with low levels of community spread. Visitors may be asked to get a COVID-19 test before their visit and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Maryland Department of Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Outdoor visits are encouraged when weather permits, but indoor visits are allowed at facilities or on floors that have gone 14 days without an outbreak. Visitors will have their temperature taken upon arrival and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

What kind of visits are allowed?

Outdoor visits are encouraged when weather permits, but indoor visits are allowed if visitors present a recent negative COVID-19 test. Facilities can only accept visitors if they've gone at least 14 days without a new case. Visitors will have their temperature taken upon arrival and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule visits at facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days and are in counties with low levels of community spread. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible. Visitors will be screened when they arrive and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule visits at facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days and are in counties with low levels of community spread. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible. Visitors will be screened when they arrive and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Mississippi State Department of Health.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule visits at facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days and are in counties with low levels of community spread. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible. Visitors will be screened when they arrive and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

What kind of visits are allowed?

Visitors can schedule visits at facilities that haven't had an active outbreak in the past 14 days and are in counties with low levels of community spread. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible. Visitors will be screened when they arrive and must wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Where can I learn more?

See guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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, 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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