COVID-19 Guidelines for Senior Living and Human Services Organizations

There are five broad areas to consider in preventing and slowing the spread of COVID-19 in your senior living or human services facility.

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, Senior Living and Human Services organizations providing housing and healthcare services may opt or be required to care for those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Prompt detection and isolation of those who are potentially infected is critical in preventing unnecessary exposures among residents, employees, and visitors.

There are five broad areas to consider in preventing and slowing the spread of COVID-19 in your building, including:
1) General considerations
2) Controlling the virus from entering the building
3) Separating those with symptoms
4) Minimizing spread
5) Protecting employees

General Considerations

  • Regularly review the CDC website to ensure compliance with infection control and other guidance
  • Comply with requirements of applicable licensing and surveying agencies, such as CMS, as well as local health departments
  • Implement contingency plans to address staff absenteeism and the rapid influx of residents
  • Residents should shelter in place and not leave the building, except in the instance of a medical or other emergency

Control the Virus from Entering the Building

  • Restrict visitors and non-essential personnel with exception of compassionate situations like end-of-life. When compassionate visits are allowed, instruct and assist visitors in complying with means of safe visitation
    • All such visitors will be subject to symptom screening, including temperature checks
  • Screen all staff for fever and respiratory symptoms at their arrival to work each day, documenting results. Identify staff who work at multiple locations or communities
  • Visitors and staff with symptoms of a respiratory infection such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat should not be allowed to enter the building at any time
  • Review and revise how employees interact with vendors and supply deliveries

Separate Those with Symptoms

  • Some individuals may have difficulty communicating symptoms, making diagnosis challenging
  • Cohort those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection in the same unit, wing, or building. Place in single occupancy rooms or in multi-occupancy rooms with others who have confirmed COVID-19 infection. Keep doors closed if possible and limit movement outside room
  • If symptomatic residents and exposed roommates need to leave their rooms, a face mask should be worn

Minimize Spread

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and shared equipment with EPA-registered, healthcare-grade disinfectants
  • Use single-use medical equipment whenever possible. Otherwise, dedicate re-usable medical equipment to individual residents. Clean and disinfect between uses
  • Suspend group and community activities and close communal dining areas
  • Remind residents to practice social distancing and perform frequent hand hygiene. Assist those who may have difficulty understanding, remembering, or performing these activities independently
  • To detect emergent cases, take and document residents’ temperatures a minimum of daily
  • Shared bathrooms should be cleaned and disinfected after each use

Protect Employees

  • Staff caring for those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection should use appropriate personal protective equipment such as:
    • An N95 respirator, if available. If unavailable, a face mask
    • A face shield or goggles
    • Gloves
    • Gown
  • Minimize number of employees assigned to care for residents with COVID-19. Do not float staff between units
  • Provide additional work supplies such as pens and notepads to avoid sharing. Disinfect work areas
  • Encourage use of supportive services such as an employee assistance program


Nationwide Loss Control Services resources:
CDC Coronavirus Disease:
EPA Disinfectants for use Against COVID-19 :
CMS Coronavirus Toolkit:

The information used to create this brochure was obtained from sources believed to be reliable to help users address their own risk management and insurance needs. It does not and is not intended to provide legal advice. Nationwide, its affiliates and employees do not guarantee improved results based upon the information contained herein and assume no liability in connection with the information or the provided suggestions. The recommendations provided are general in nature; unique circumstances may not warrant or require implementation of some or all of the suggestions. Nothing in this brochure is intended to imply a grant of coverage.  Each claim will be evaluated on its own merits and circumstances.  Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2020 Nationwide

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