LTC Safe Start Plans Updated for Dining and Activities

LTC Safe Start Plans Updated for Dining and Activities

The Governor has approved the additions to the Safe Start Plan, accepting the CDC and CMS guidance for communal dining and activities.  Please read these documents carefully and make sure you understand the changes.  We are still working on updating the visitation guidance with the Governor’s office.

We have been told that RCS will not be citing providers for not having these changes in place immediately, they will give time for you to update your policies and train your staff on the new guidance. We would encourage you start working on this now, the Governor’s Proclamation has been updated to include these changes.

As a reminder, here are the changes to Communal Dining and Activities.

  • Communal dining is allowed for Residents who are not COVID-19 positive ( NH continue following QSO-20-39-NH guidance).
  • Fully vaccinated residents can participate in communal dining without use of source control or physical distancing.
  • If unvaccinated residents are dining in a communal area (e.g., dining room) all residents should use source control when not eating and unvaccinated residents should continue to remain at least 6 feet from others
  • If unvaccinated staff assist with dining, all residents and staff in the dining room will wear source control.
  • For residents who require staff assistance with feeding, appropriate hand hygiene of staff must occur between residents and unvaccinated residents must be seated at least 6 feet apart.
  • Staff must continue to wear source control regardless of vaccination status.
  • Sanitize all eating areas with disinfectant before and after meals.
  • Facilities/homes may host separate dining based on vaccination status. If choosing to do so, the facility/ home must ensure that they continue to comply with Resident Rights requirements.
  • Group activities may occur for Residents who are not COVID-19 positive (NHs continue following the guidance in QSO-20-39-NH).
  • When determining vaccination status, the privacy of the resident/staff should be maintained (e.g., not asked in front of other residents/staff).  For example, when planning for group activities or communal dining, facilities might consider having residents sign up in advance so their vaccination status can be confirmed and seating assigned.
  • If vaccination status of residents or staff cannot be determined, the safest practice is for all participants to follow all recommended infection prevention and control practices including maintaining physical distancing and wearing source control.
  • Group activities:

o   If all residents participating in the activity are fully vaccinated, then they may choose to have close contact and to not wear source control during the activity.

o   If unvaccinated residents are present, then all participants in the group activity should wear source control and unvaccinated residents should physically distance from others.

  • All personnel must continue to use source control regardless of vaccination status.
  • Facilities/homes may host separate activities based on vaccination status. If choosing to do so, the facility/ home must ensure that they continue to comply with Resident Rights requirements.
  • Engagement through technology should be utilized as well to minimize opportunity for exposure.
  • Facilities should have procedures in place for residents to engage remotely or virtually, where possible, in activities that improve quality of life (e.g. church service, art classes, concerts, etc.).
  • Use of gyms should assure all social distancing guidelines are followed and proper sanitization of equipment occurs between use.  CDC and DOH recommendations for fitness centers or gyms should be implemented where applicable.
  • Utilize the Interim Supplemental Guidance for Allowing Group Activities and Communal Dining in Long-Term Care Facilities (LTCFs)

AFH-ALF-ESF Safe Start 4-30-2021 New CDC guidance Final

NH ICF IID Safe Start 4-30-2021 New CDC Guidance Final


Questions?

Contact:

Laura Hofmann, MSN, RN – Director of Clinical and Nursing Facility Regulatory Services
c: 425-231-4804

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May 3, 2021