ISDH Issues Updated “Back on Track” Guidelines for Long-Term Care Facilities

By: Jennifer L. Strange

On June 29, 2020, the Indiana State Department of Health (“ISDH”) issued updated guidelines addressing continuing COVID-19 related infection prevention and control policies, outdoor and indoor visitation, outside appointments, and internal activities/personal services.  See guidelines here and here.   The guidelines apply to both comprehensive care facilities (nursing homes) and residential care facilities (licensed assisted living facilities).  These guidelines recognize residents’ need for increased socialization to promote their physical and mental well-being while also protecting them from COVID-19, and are consistent with and subject to the State’s Back on Track Plan found here.

Here are the biggest takeaways from these updated guidelines:

1) COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures should remain in place as long as the virus is in epidemic levels and until a vaccine is available and can be widely administered.  This includes:

  • Continued mask use by staff, visitors, and residents (when they leave their rooms, as tolerated)
  • Continued social distancing of at least six (6) feet as much as possible
  • Continued staff and visitor screening and temperature checks
  • Continued daily monitoring of residents for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Continued focused and frequent environmental cleaning
  • Cohort residents if COVID-19 cases are confirmed

2) Indoor visitation is permitted and outdoor visitation is required as of July 4, 2020.  Limitations are as follows:

  • There can be no new facility-onset COVID-19 cases in the past fourteen (14) days (new facility-onset is defined as a resident who contracts COVID-19 within a facility without prior hospitalization or other outpatient/external facility-based health service within the last 14 days). 
  • Visitation is limited to those residents who are COVID-19 negative or COVID-19 recovered.
  • A facility must cease visitation if a new facility-onset COVID-19 resident case is confirmed.  Fourteen days must pass without a new facility-onset COVID-19 resident case before visitation can resume. 

3) Outside appointments and excursions are permitted, provided that any residents leaving the facility take proper infection-control precautions and are then monitored for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 upon their return.

4) Internal activities such as gym use, communal dining, activities, and beauty/personal services can resume, provided that infection control practices are maintained and facilities can adhere to social distancing. 

If you have questions about “Back on Track” updates for long-term care facilites , contact your DSV attorney or Jennifer L. Strange at

***The information contained on this website is for informational purposes and is not intended as formal legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such.  No attorney client relationship is established or intended as a result of the information contained on this website.***