Texas Health and Human Services Commission expands visitation in nursing facilities and long-term care centers

AUSTIN, Texas — Starting Tuesday, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is expanding visitation statewide in nursing facilities and other long-term care settings.

HHSC officials said per federal guidance that was issued March 10, fully vaccinated nursing facility residents are allowed close, in-person visits with family members and friends who are not designated essential caregivers. Officials said visitations can take place as long as proper safeguards are in place.

“Safely visiting with family and friends is vital to the mental health and well-being of long-term care residents,” said Victoria Ford, HHS chief policy and regulatory officer. “We are so pleased these new rules will allow residents to enjoy in-person visits with a wider circle of loved ones.”

Nursing facilities need to continue to follow all protocols to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 including the use of facemasks. Now Texas nursing facilities can permit:

  • close/personal contact during any visitation for fully vaccinated residents.
  • outdoor visitation at all facilities, even when the facility has an outbreak.
  • up to two essential caregivers at the same time to visit a resident with any COVID-19 status.
  • all visitation without time limits, while adhering to infection prevention and control measures.
  • end-of-life visits for all residents regardless of their COVID-19 status in all nursing facilities, with an expanded definition of end-of-life visits that now includes all residents receiving hospice services; residents at or near the end of life, with or without hospice services; and residents whose prognosis does not indicate recovery.

Nursing facilities no longer need to:

  • request general visitation approval from HHSC.
  • monitor visits or escort visitors to and from the visitation area.
  • limit indoor visitation to areas with a plexiglass barrier or booth.
  • require documentation of a negative COVID-19 test result for essential caregiver or salon services visitors.

HHSC also expanded visitation in assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities and Home and Community-based Services providers

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