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Visitation in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living
Image shows to individuals siting at an outdoor table. They are both wearing face coverings and there is a clear plastic screen between them.

LTC Ombudsman meets with assisted living residents outdoors

On March 22, 2021, new Ohio Department of Health Director's Orders were signed regarding access to Ohio's nursing homes and assisted living facilities. General visitation requirements remain the same, including the requirement that visitors schedule appointments in advance, are screened at the door, and wear masks. Changes to the orders include: 

  • Ohio is requiring that visitation be permitted whenever safety protocols can be met. Previously, visitation was permitted, not required.
  • Vaccinated residents may have physical touch with their visitor while wearing a mask. Previously, touch was discouraged.
  • Visits may occur in a resident’s private room, as opposed to the previous requirement of a separate visitation area.
  • 30 minutes should serve as the minimum amount of time for a visit. Previously, 30 minutes was the maximum time to visit.

See the orders for more information:

Director's Amended Order to Permit Access to Ohio's Nursing Homes, with Exceptions

Director's Amended Order to Permit Access to Ohio's Residential Care Facilities, with Exceptions

The amended Director's Order aligns Ohio nursing homes to the guidance issued March 10, 2021 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Revised QSO memorandum 20-39-NH expanded indoor visitation opportunities for residents and their loved ones.

In his February 22, 2021 press conference, Governor DeWine reminded nursing home operators that compassionate care visits, which are special visits in which a family member or other visitor provides comfort, support, and assistance to a resident whose well-being is suffering or at risk, are always permitted, regardless of other COVID-19 outbreak criteria. His letter to nursing home administrators encouraged families to contact the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman for assistance if needed.

Please review the Long-Term Care Facility Visitation Dashboard for information about a facility's current visitation schedule. County positivity rates are one of the criteria facilities should use to evaluate the safety of opening for indoor visitation. Compassionate care visits are allowed regardless of the county positivity rate.

Contact the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program with assistance with visitation questions. For specific health questions, call the Ohio Coronavirus Call Center at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) or visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.