Conversations Blog

Jenny Albertson, NHA

Director of Quality & Regulatory Affairs

Updated RCF Comprehensive Mitigation Guidance

CDPHE has released an update to the Residential Care Facility Comprehensive Mitigation Guidance.

Of greatest import are the following elements:

  • Facilities may now admit unvaccinated residents during an outbreak if those prospective residents are informed of the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission and mitigation requirements. Facilities must use the approved CDPHE template document “Unvaccinated RCF admission during a COVID-19 outbreak.”
    • Facilities must work with their hospital partners to provide a copy of the document PRIOR to hospital discharge to allow prospective residents to have the necessary information to make an informed choice.
  • During outbreak exit testing, facilities located in counties with substantial to high community transmission with HCP who are not fully vaccinated, should follow the more frequent surveillance testing requirements (test twice weekly utilizing lab-based PCR and daily POC testing prior to the start of every shift).”
  • There are no changes to visitation of companion animals. Companion animals visit a single resident and the handler follows general visitation policies. Companion animals do not participate in communal dining or group activities.
  • The use of therapy animals is now permitted.  Service, emotional support, and therapy animals defined as:  Generally part of an organized volunteer program within the facility.  The facility should have policies and procedures in place addressing vaccination of animals, health requirements, and grooming standards.  Animals have received some formal training to assist in completing their designated role at the facility.
    • Should not visit residents with signs of and/or confirmed illness.
    • Residents and handlers must perform hand hygiene before and after interacting with each resident.
  • Added link to return to work guidance from CDC
  • Updated Outbreak Decision Tree to include the ability to admit unvaccinated residents while in outbreak status.