Adult Care Licensure Section Provides Guidance On Communal Dining and Group Activities in Assisted Living Communities
NCALA has received numerous inquiries from members asking whether the ban on communal dining and group activities that was contained in Governor Cooper’s Executive Order #131, issued on April 9, 2020, and which specifically applied to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), also applies to adult care homes in North Carolina. (Those same prohibitions are repeated and reinforced in the Governor’s Executive Order #138, issued on May 5, 2020, as Phase I of the Governor’s Reopening North Carolina plan.)
Executive Order #131 stated that other types of health care facilities, including adult care homes, “are strongly encouraged” to follow the mitigation measures applicable to SNFs. That order did not expressly “require” adult care homes to follow those mitigation measures, which included the cancellation of communal dining and group activities.
As a result, NCALA reached out to the leadership of the Adult Care Licensure Section (ACLS) to obtain clarification. On May 4, 2020, ACLS leadership confirmed its position that adult care homes should suspend communal dining and group activities for now. Here is a summary of the response NCALA received from ACLS:
The recommendation from every agency since the beginning of the pandemic (CDC, CMS, DHHS, etc) has been that facilities stop communal dining and group activities. Executive Order #131 made this a requirement for nursing homes and strongly advises the same for adult care homes. As a result, adult care homes should suspend group activities. The issue is more than just a matter or whether social distancing can be maintained. All efforts should be made to limit individuals circulating in the community, touching common surfaces, and moving among facilities unknowingly exposing each other, whether staff, residents, medical providers, visitors, etc. While we realize this is incredibly difficult for both facilities and residents for varying reasons, we think both state and federal public health officials have made these recommendations for the safety and protection of residents. These are certainly unprecedented times and are requiring everyone to do things differently, hopefully not forever, but for the immediate future.
Please reach out to NCALA if you have further questions about this, or any other COVID-19 issue.
North Carolina Assisted Living Association