DSHS Provides Guidance for Fitness Centers Within LTC

DSHS Provides Guidance for Fitness Centers Within LTC

After the most recent Governor proclamation was issued, LeadingAge Washington has continued to seek clarity and advocate with DSHS and DOH on several issues that impact long term care.

One of these issues is the use of gyms or fitness centers in long term care settings, including CCRCs/LPCs. It was expected by state officials that fitness centers would be closed to residents living independently while remaining open to those needing some level of assistance with personal or nursing care. The officials relied on the portion of the proclamation that requires fitness centers/clubs to close.

We believe and argued that fitness centers in LTC communities should not be forced to follow the same restrictions that apply to commercial fitness centers and should be allowed to remain open. Stringent infection control measures, social distancing, and screenings are already taking place within LTC communities, making it safer for all residents. There is also a great benefit for residents to remain physically active and healthy, particularly during the pandemic when residents are feeling isolated and when outdoor activities are limited due to inclement weather.

LeadingAge advocated for the same access to fitness centers to be granted for independent and assisted living residents. While we could not get the same access extended in all settings, DSHS and DOH have agreed to the following guidance.

  • If the facility is set up where the IL and the ALF are distinctly separate and do not share living space (such as dining areas, common areas, etc.) and they have a fitness area that is distinct to a given area, each section would need to follow the section of the Governor’s Proclamation that applies to their program (IL would need to close the fitness area and ALF would be able to continue with a fitness area). If that facility regularly had residents leaving one area to go to the fitness center in another area, they would need to follow the current proclamation (ALF residents would not be able to use the IL center because it is closed, and IL residents would not be able to enter the ALF).
  •  However, if the facility has both IL and ALF residents sharing the same living space that is under an ALF license and there is no distinction between the IL and the ALF other than the individual services each resident receives (utilizing the same common areas, dining rooms, apartments are in the same space, etc.), then the residents in that facility would be able to utilize the fitness room regardless of designation because they all live together.

We will continue to advocate for greater and equal access for all residents when residing not only under one roof but within one community, even though housing may be in townhomes or carriage houses. We do not, however, expect to gain any further expansion to fitness centers than what is above described during the Governor’s current restrictions.




Alyssa Odegaard – Vice President, Public Policc: 206.948.2279