What You Need to Know About Visiting a Skilled Nursing Facility During the Coronavirus Crisis

When the challenges the coronavirus crisis has caused, as someone with a friend or family member in a skilled nursing facility it is difficult not to immediately want to go visit your loved one. On March 13, 2020; however, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”), which regulates most skilled nursing homes, issued strict guidelines on visitation of skilled nursing facilities.
Under the most recent guidelines, facilities should restrict visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations, for example when residents are near the end of life. Even in those cases, however, CMS requires that visitors be limited to a specific room only and must use hand hygiene and personal protective equipment. Those wishing to source their own PPE may wish to check out different gowns for isolating online and purchase some, especially if they are going to be visiting multiple times during the pandemic.
The only exceptions under these guidelines exist for healthcare workers, hospice works, EMS personnel, or dialysis technicians that provide care to residents.

CMS emphasized in these guidelines that although in person visits should not be permitted, facilities should consider offering alternative means of communication to residents and families who would otherwise visit (e.g., phone, video-communication, etc.).

It is crucial that residents of nursing homes stay in contact with their families and friends. If you feel that the skilled nursing facility that your loved one resides at is not making reasonable efforts to allow you to stay in communication with your loved one or allow you to receive updates about their condition, you still have access to the ombudsman (resident advocate) program. The name and contact information of the facility ombudsman should be displayed in public areas in the facility, but the ombudsman can also be located at this state website:


While the ombudsman will likely be subject to the same visitation restrictions as other visitors, they can still offer advocacy by phone and email.

We, at the Law Offices of Lisa C. Bryant, INC, will remain available to support you and your family during this time should you have questions about medical directives, Medi-Cal, and/or skilled nursing facilities. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office at (408) 419-1361 or (714) 410-2542.

All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about our firm, our services, and the experience of our attorneys. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, and may be subject to change without notice.