CMS Updates Guidance for Nursing Home Visitation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dec 17, 2021

Posted December 17, 2021
Senior adult couple visiting their sick mother at home and talking

Two adults are interacting with an older person. The older person is lying in bed. All three are wearing face masks.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on nursing home residents, families, and staff. Limitations on visits from family (as defined by each resident), other personal guests, and even certain service providers (such as hospice personnel and long-term care ombudsmen) have drastically exacerbated loneliness and social isolation among residents.

Recognizing the physical and emotional toll of these visitation restrictions, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently updated its guidance to nursing homes regarding visitation during COVID-19. As of the date the guidance was released (November 12, 2021), residents may receive visitors of their choice at any time of day, indoors or outdoors, even during COVID-19 outbreaks. Infection prevention practices, as detailed by CMS in the updated guidance, remain critical.


Updated guidance from CMS (November 12, 2021)

Recording of CMS National Nursing Home Stakeholder Call on COVID-19 (November 23, 2021)

Summary of the guidance from the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (November 2021)

Consumer Voice Webinar recording and slides regarding the guidance (November 18, 2021)

Consumer Voice podcast regarding the guidance (December 10, 2021)

Summary of CMS stakeholder call by LeadingAge, association representing nonprofit nursing homes and other aging services providers (November 23, 2021)


Chris Herman, MSW, LICSW

Senior Practice Associate–Aging, NASW national office

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