This week’s Ftag of the Week is part of the Resident Rights regulatory group, F563 Right to Receive/Deny Visitors. Facilities must have written P&Ps regarding visitation rights for residents. This includes addressing clinically necessary, reasonable restriction/limitations, and safety restriction/limitations when it is necessary to put such restrictions/limitations in place. Clinical and safety restrictions should be included in the facility’s policies, procedures or practices that are in place to protect the health and security of all residents and staff. This includes keeping the facility secured at night so long as a system is in place to allow visitors approved by the resident; the regulation also addresses denying access to individuals who are suspected of abuse or other criminal acts.
This regulation outlines the residents’ right to have visitors and deny visitors under certain circumstances, including:
- Residents have the right to receive visitors of his/her choosing.
- Residents have the right to have visits at the time of his/her choosing.
- The resident may deny/withdraw consent for visitation at any time to specific visitors
- Immediate family and other relatives of the resident must be provided with immediate access to the resident. Immediate family, per the Interpretive Guidance (IG) is not restricted to blood relatives, and instead refers to multiple family types that provide “a supportive, caring unit,” that is defined by the resident on admission and thereafter. These visitors are not subject to visiting hour limitations or other restrictions, unless they have been imposed by the resident.
- Visitors who the resident has consented to have visit must be provided with immediate access to the resident, “subject to reasonable clinical and safety restrictions.” Subject to reasonable restrictions and, if the resident consents to it, these visitors must be provided with 24-hour access to the facility.
- Any individual/entity that provides legal, social, health or other services to a resident must be provided with reasonable access. The facility must provide space and privacy for these visits.
Visitation rights must not infringe on the rights of other residents, so this means that the facility is responsible for finding a location for visits other than the resident’s room if needed, such as when the resident’s roommate is asleep. It is important to ensure that a balance is struck on meeting all residents’ rights – whether they are the ones receiving visitors or simply other residents who may potentially be impacted by another resident’s preferred visiting hours or volume of visitors. Remember to use those initial interviews with a resident during the admission process to determine if special visitation accommodations might need to be made.