Updated Considerations for Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Assisted Living Facilities

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

CMS updated this website on Friday, May 29, 2020. 

“Given their congregate nature and population served, assisted living facilities (ALFs) are at high risk for SARS-CoV-2 spreading among their residents. If infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, assisted living residents—often older adults with underlying medical conditions—are at increased risk for severe illness. CDC is aware of confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents of ALFs in multiple states. Experience with outbreaks in nursing homes has demonstrated that residents with COVID-19 may not report common symptoms such as fever or respiratory symptoms; some may not report any symptoms. Unrecognized asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic infections likely contribute to transmission in these settings. Therefore, CDC recommends source control measures for all persons, including when in a healthcare setting.  Detailed recommendations, including when facemasks versus cloth face coverings should be used are in the CDC’s Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Healthcare Settings.

ALFs should refer to guidance from state and local officials when making decisions about relaxing restrictions (e.g., easing visitor restrictions, allowing group activities, or restoring communal dining).  CMS has created Nursing Home Reopening Recommendations for State and Local Officials.  This guidance was created specifically for nursing homes, but content might also be informative for ALFs.

When relaxing any restrictions, ALFs must remain vigilant for COVID-19 among residents and personnel in order to prevent spread and protect residents and personnel from severe infections, hospitalizations, and death.

Depending on the level of care and services provided in the ALF, recommendations in the following guidance documents may also apply:

  • Interim Additional Guidance for Infection Prevention and Control for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 in Nursing Homes
  • Interim Guidance for Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Retirement Communities and Independent Living Facilities”

Check out the link to this website in the first sentence of this blog to access all of the information on this webpage, including numerous hyperlinks.