Guidance for Temporary Tent Structures and Clear Dividers for LTC Visitation

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) today released guidance on the use of temporary tent structures and clear dividers for purposes of visitation, which will be helpful for both nursing homes and housing with services/assisted living communities.

In memorandum QSO-20-39-NH (Sept. 17, 2020), CMS provided notice that civil money penalty (CMP) funds have been set aside to help nursing homes make in-person visits possible. These funds may be used to buy tents for outdoor visits and/or clear dividers to create a physical barrier to lower the risk of transmission during in-person visits (indoors or outdoors). In light of this news, the MDH Engineering Section developed these guidelines for temporary tent structures and clear dividers for in-person visits.

While only nursing homes are eligible for the money from CMS, all long-term care settings should use this guidance if setting up tents and/or clear dividers as options for outdoor visitation during cooler weather. MDH emphasizes that the items in the guidance must be addressed in the multidisciplinary risk assessment and mitigation plan for allowing residents to visit with family while maintaining a minimum level of infection control and fire safety.The MN Department of Human Services is working now to develop an expedited process for nursing facilities to apply for CMP funds, and we will provide additional information as soon as DHS completes that work.

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