Long-Term Care Facilities
The risk for severe illness with COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk. Compared to younger adults, older adults are more likely to require hospitalization if they get COVID-19. Those who live and work in long-term care facilities or congregate living settings should consider the following precautions to protect staff and residents from COVID-19.
To protect friends and family members in these long-term care or communal living facilities, CDC and DHS has advised to:
- Educate Residents, Healthcare Personnel, and Visitors about COVID-19
- Restrict visitors
- Permit visitation only during select hours and limit the number of visitors per resident
- Schedule visitation in advance to enable continued social distancing
- Restrict visitation to the resident’s room or another designated location at the facility (e.g., outside)
- Require or recommend visitors (including healthcare workers, aides, and staff) wear masks over their nose and mouth, if visitors are allowed
- Limit activities within the facility to keep residents distanced from each other
- Regularly monitor healthcare workers and residents for fevers and symptoms and outline criteria for returning safely to work
- Create a Plan for Testing Residents and Healthcare Personnel for COVID-19
- (DHS Outbreak Memo)
- Identify Space in the Facility that Could be Dedicated to Monitor and Care for Residents with COVID-19
- Create a Plan for Managing New Admissions and Readmissions Whose COVID-19 Status is Unknown
Learn more about the risks among people who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities and about CDC’s guidance for nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) PDF PDF has also developed guidance for visitations under various circumstances.
The best way to protect yourself for you and your loved ones, and to help reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is to:
- Wear a mask, when you interact with others.
- Limit your in-person interactions with other people as much as possible, particularly when indoors.
- Keep space between yourself and others (stay 6 feet away, which is about 2 arm lengths).
- Wash your hands often. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Then wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and things you touch often.
- Learn additional information for adults with disabilities.
- Learn How to Protect Yourself
· If you are family member of someone who lives in a long-term care facility or congregate living setting, consider the level of risk before deciding to go out and ensure that people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and those who live with them, are taking steps to protect themselves.
· If you start feeling sick and think you may have COVID-19, get in touch with your healthcare provider within 24 hours.
Being isolated from loved-ones during this pandemic can be difficult. It can cause mental and emotional distress and overwhelming emotions.
- The facility will notify you if a case of COVID-19 is in the facility. If COVID-19 has been identified in your loved ones facility, to protect the vulnerable residents, actions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 may need to be put in place such as, restricting all visitors , increased monitoring or staff and residents and limiting activities within the facility for a period of time.
- Be aware and utilize alternative methods of visitation PDF PDF if the facility you or loved one lives in is restricting visitors