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Summary of ISDH Guidance on Family Visitation for End-of-Life Care

Posted Apr 17, 20202 min Read

Regulatory & Clinical

On March 14, 2020, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) issued guidelines to restrict all visitors and nonessential personnel from long-term care facilities, except for visitors in compassionate care situations, as in end of life.  On April 17, 2020, ISDH issued additional guidance regarding family visitation for end-of-life care.

Family visitation for end-of-life care should be made on a case-by-case basis and should weigh the risk of viral transmission with the need for compassionate end-of-life care.  The following should be considered before allowing families to visit:

  • The resident is thought, based on the clinical impression, to be at imminent risk of dying.
  • The number of family members should be limited to no more than two (2) individuals.
  • Family members must be carefully screened at entry for fever and respiratory symptoms.
  • Family members who are in a high-risk category should be cautioned about the decision to visit a health care setting.
  • Those with respiratory symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, shortness of breath) should not be permitted to enter the facility at any time, even in end-of-life situations.

Family members who are permitted visitation will be:

  • Instructed before entry to the facility of the need to be screened for temperature and symptoms;
  • Instructed of the risk of contracting COVID-19;
  • Limited to specific locations; and
  • Required to perform hand hygiene and wear personal protective equipment, including gloves, a gown, and a standard surgical facemask, if available.

Long-term care facilities may also set specific policies in terms of length of visits, times the visits can occur, and age limitations.

About the Author

Laura Brown, Director of Legislative and Legal Affairs