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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Nursing Homes in Washington State

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
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Questions and answers about how COVID-19 has affected nursing home and long-term care facilities in Washington state. #5204EN


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Are there special rules for nursing homes during this pandemic?

Things are changing fast. Check back for updates. We discuss here rules from Governor Inslee's order and guidance from the federal government.

Do these rules cover assisted living facilities?


Can residents have visitors?

Visits are very limited right now. Nursing homes can stop visits for residents, except for "compassionate situations." This means end-of-life situations.

What are the rules around any permitted visits?

  • Visits must take place in the resident's room or a specially designated, "clean" room. This does not apply to end-of-life situations.

  • Visitors must follow precautionary measures. These include, but are not limited to, wearing personal protective equipment (such as facemasks) and social distancing.

  • Visitors must sign into a visitor's log.

  • Owners and operators must keep the visitor's log for 30 days.

  • Visitors and staff should use "hand hygiene."

Are staff being screened for COVID-19?

Yes. Workers and volunteers must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms when you start each shift.

What happens to a resident who tests positive for COVID-19?

You must be isolated. That means the staff will keep you away from other people.

Can the nursing home tell other people about a resident's condition?

Owners, operators, staff and volunteers cannot give out protected and confidential health information. There are some legal exceptions to this. It is okay to do so if you agree to let them give out information.

The nursing home where I live won't let us eat as a group anymore. They are having us eat in our rooms. Can they do this?

Yes. They can stop group meals and other group activities.

Last Review and Update: Apr 14, 2020