So, CMS has issued guidelines for how each state should allow the reopening of nursing homes and they laid out “Factors that should inform decisions about relaxing restrictions in nursing homes”. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidelines emphasizing that nursing facilities will be among the last institutions that can safely reopen as the U.S. takes tentative steps toward moving out of COVID-19-induced lockdowns.
However, the agency recommended that nursing homes secure COVID-19 testing for all residents and staff before advancing through the three planned phases of reopening, or relaxing any restrictions.
The factors CMS listed to inform the relaxation of restrictions on skilled nursing facilities include:
- A community’s case status
- A nursing home’s case status
- Adequate staffing
- Local hospital capacity
- Universal source control — i.e. residents and visitors wearing face masks or face coverings
- Access to adequate testing
- Access to sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE)
One factor that stood out was: “Adequate staffing: No staffing shortages. The facility is not under a contingency staffing plan.” How are the states supposed to determine whether there is a staffing shortage? These facilities always operate short-staffed!