SALEM, OR – Licensed nursing, assisted living and residential care facilities that qualify may begin allowing limited indoor visitation for residents starting Nov. 2, 2020.
“As we have throughout this pandemic, when it comes to long-term care facility visitation, we will proceed carefully, to protect the residents who are most vulnerable to COVID-19,” said Governor Kate Brown. “With case counts rising, I have instructed the Department of Human Services to proceed with caution. However, it is my hope that families can now safely begin visiting the loved ones they have not been able to see for so many months.”
Residents may have up to two visitors at a time to meet with in an approved area.
To qualify, a facility must:
• Have no suspected or current COVID-19 cases;
• Follow visitation requirements detailed in the policy and related guidance;
• Be in a community with a low or medium rate of COVID-19 exposure; facilities in communities with high incidents of COVID-19 may only have visitors indoors who qualify under the compassionate care policy.
“We are grateful to everyone who collaborated to develop the safeguards to make this policy possible. Indoor visitation restrictions have been extremely painful for everyone to endure; I hope this change will provide relief to those who are suffering from being separated from family and friends,” said Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) Director Fariborz Pakseresht.
Mike McCormick, Interim Director of the ODHS Office of Aging and People with Disabilities added, “The indoor visitation policy has many layers to it that strike a balance between safety and the essential need for families and friends to connect.
We will continue to monitor outbreaks closely and will modify the policy if that is warranted. The impact of the pandemic is evolving, and we must be ready to continually adapt.”
ODHS collaborated with a variety of stakeholders in developing the policy. Among the considerations:
• Availability of COVID-19 testing, turnaround times for test results and implementation of required ongoing staff testing at facilities;
• Long-term care facilities’ overall track record in preventing and controlling outbreaks when they occur; and,
• Oregon’s low national ranking for COVID-19 infections.
To protect the health and well-being of residents and staff, facilities permitting indoor visitation must take precautions, including:
• Scheduling staggered visits and limiting the number of visitors per resident to two at any given time.
• Setting time limits, if needed, to ensure all residents can receive visitors; and, allow special considerations for those traveling for visitation.
• Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and designated visitation areas after each visit.
• Ensuring visitors receive a health screening before entering, use required personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper hand hygiene during the visit and limit where they go within the facility.
• Providing a dedicated visiting area.
• Keeping a log of visitors (indoors and outdoors) that includes the visitor’s name, address and phone number to be used if contact tracing is needed.
• For more information on ODHS requirements for limited indoor visitation see a copy of the policy issued and the corresponding guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
• Facilities must use one of two resources in determining whether they are in a county that is in a high-risk area for COVID-19 and if limited indoor visitation is allowed. Those two resources are: CMS COVID-19 Positivity Rates and OHA COVID-19 Positivity Rates.
• Visit this ODHS webpage for lists of facilities reporting cases of COVID-19 that would not be able to adopt limited indoor visitation. Links to the lists are near the bottom of the page.
• See related policies including: the policy for compassionate care visits, the policy for limited outdoor visitation and the guidance issued for residents who leave and return to a licensed long-term care facility.
• Long-term care providers, residents and family members with questions should reach out to: SOQ.LTCInfo@dhsoha.state.or.us.