Tennessee to allow limited visitation at long-term care facilities under new guidelines

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TENNESSEE (WATE) — Governor Bill Lee along with the Unified Command Group (UCG) have released guidance today on allowing long-term care facilities in the state to provide limited visitation options while ensuring the safety of their residents from COVID-19.

The UCG guidelines, along with a forthcoming executive order will allow new forms of visitation, start June 15.

“Our hope is to balance the need for social interaction at long-term care facilities with providing a safe environment for residents, staff, and visitors.

We will monitor the implementation of this visitation plan closely, knowing we may need to revert to more protective measures if we start seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases at facilities.”

Commissioner Lisa Piercey – Tennessee Department of Health

Facilities that opt-in to reopening to visitors are required to meet four prerequisites:

  • Testing of all staff and residents at least once, and compliance with applicable regulations regarding weekly staff re-testing;
  • No new COVID-19 case in residents or staff members in the previous 28 days;
  • Compliant with Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities regulations and infection control guidelines;
  • Overall stability of the disease burden present in the community where the facility is located.

Once these facilities meet the prerequisites and allow limited visitation, must follow guidelines:

  • Making appointments prior to visiting and limiting the duration of visits;
  • Limiting the number of visitors per resident and daily visitors per facility;
  • Enforcing visitor social distancing and mask requirements; and,
  • Screening all visitors with symptom and temperature checks immediately upon facility entry.

Three options for these facilities to allow limited resident visitation:

  • In an outdoor setting, weather permitting; 
  • Using a visitation booth or protective barrier; and,
  • A resident’s room if the visitor documents a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to the visit.   

To Note: “Separate provisions for visitation involving accommodations for support for residents with disabilities and other critical assistance or end-of-life care also remain in effect.

“From my own family experience, I know how heartbreakingly difficult and stressful it is to not see loved ones for weeks at a time.

Our family members, friends, and neighbors in long-term care are our most vulnerable Tennesseans. Even limited visitation options will bring relief and support for residents and visitors alike, as long as we can ensure everyone’s well-being.”

Gov. Lee

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