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Connecticut DPH Modifies Visitor Restrictions at Nursing Homes, Residential Care Homes, and Chronic Disease Hospitals

May 13, 2020

On May 9, 2020, the former State of Connecticut Department of Public Health (“DPH”) Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell issued an order modifying the visitor restrictions at nursing homes, residential care homes, and chronic disease hospitals (the “Facilities”).

DPH had previously imposed a complete ban on visitors at the Facilities for the duration of the current public health emergency and this order continues in effect.  DPH’s most recent order also requires the Facilities to do the following.

  1. Facilities must “regularly facilitate reasonable and practical alternative means of communication between residents and their family and other individuals” who are currently prohibited from visiting the Facilities.  The order states that this must occur, at a minimum, on a weekly basis.  Examples of such alternative means of communication include “window visits, virtual visitation via technological solutions (e.g., Face Time, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.), social media communications and phone calls.”
     
  2. Facilities must “contact the resident's family, conservator or legal representative to decide together on which specific work shift the visits or technological solutions will be provided.”  All visits at the Facilities (e.g., window visits, outdoor social-distancing visits) must be for a minimum of twenty minutes, should be structured and planned by the Facility, and must not occur after sundown.
     
  3. Facilities must assist residents in the use of such technological solutions and regularly inform residents and their family members of how to schedule such alternative means of communication.
     
  4. Facilities that are unable to provide such alternative means of communication for their residents must immediately inform the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program to resolve the issue.

If you have any questions regarding these visitor restrictions, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Health Law Practice Group at Shipman & Goodwin LLP.

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