The state of South Carolina has announced important rules for outdoor visits at assisted living facilities and nursing homes throughout the state. This will mark the first time that such visits are allowed since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020.

Department of Health and Environmental Control lists requirements for outdoor in person visits

The state’s department of health said that there are five main categories of requirements that must be met for outdoor visitations to be successful and low risk. Only after successfully meeting these requirements will a facility be approved by the Department of Health and Environmental Control to allow limited outdoor visits during the pandemic. 

The first requirement is that all residents and staff members must be screened for symptoms of the virus at least once each day. There must also be documentation of the results of these tests available for inspection by state officials. This should be much more feasible for nursing homes and similar facilities as rapid tests become available. 

The second protective measure is for each facility to have enough staff members scheduled to work at any time to avoid shortages, and there must be a sufficient amount of protective equipment for every staff member actively working to prevent new infections.  

A plan in writing that details protocols for these kinds of visits must be given to the Healthcare Quality Division. This needs to include information about masks, social distancing, and sanitation of common areas. 

The CMS requirements for COVID-19 tests must also be met. Facilities were given until the first of October to make arrangements for adequate tests and continued following of protocols. 

The department also came up with a number of safety triggers that would suspend these visits temporarily to ensure that large scale spreading does not happen. A sufficient amount of retesting of both patients, staff, and visitors must be conducted as each new case is discovered. 

When the visiting is able to begin or resume, all outside visitors must limit their stays to 15 minutes and wear masks at all times. 

Watching for problems within nursing homes

One of the main reasons why nursing homes have come under such scrutiny during the pandemic is a combination of poor conditions inside and intentional abuse from the staff that has been documented in recent years. The results of the first several months of the pandemic also showed that severe outbreaks were a serious problem, which resulted in thousands of deaths to both residents and staff members. 

Get more information about lawsuits against a negligent nursing home

There are attorneys who focus their practice on bringing cases against those responsible for neglect, injuries, and deaths within nursing homes. To learn more about this process, contact a lawyer at:

Louthian Law Firm, P.A.

1116 Blanding St., #3A, Columbia, SC 29201


[email protected]

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