CDC Issues COVID-19 Guidance for Adult Day Centers, Participants

Regulation | April 01, 2021 | by Brendan Flinn

The guidance provides operational and behavioral recommendations for providing safe, in-person adult day services.

On March 31, CDC issued guidance for adult day services centers operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance is designed specifically for adult day administrators, staff and volunteers and should be taken as supplemental to (and specifically not in replacement of) any guidance issued on the state or local levels.

In addition to the guidance for centers themselves, CDC also issued guidance for adult day services participants, which includes much of the same information in the provider guidance but written for consumer audiences. While written for adult day providers specifically, other providers who offer in-person services in a center, like PACE organizations or senior centers, may find the guidance helpful as well. 

The guidance is comprehensive and covers behavioral, operational and physical approaches to preventing COVID-19 spread within a day center. It likely reflects many of the strategies centers have taken as they have reopened and/or modified their operations through the pandemic.

Like previous general CDC guidance, this document advises on healthy behaviors that all staff and participants should follow, including getting vaccinated when possible, staying home if a person tests positive for the virus, exhibits symptoms or comes into close contact with somebody who has COVID-19. The guidance also instructs individuals in a day center to wear masks and to regularly wash their hands, and provides guidance on proper techniques for both actions.

The guidance also provides operational guidance specific to adult day centers, similar to what CDC has issued in guidance for community-based organizations and other entities. These include placing limitations on visitors, ensuring physical distancing and implementing screening protocols. The guidance covers health screening at length and includes considerations on privacy and the need to engage in masking, distancing and other heathy behaviors in addition to screening.

It also addresses messaging within the center itself, including recommending signage that reminds individuals on distancing, mask usage and other COVID-19 prevention behaviors, as well as markers on the floor to indicate six feet of distance.

The guidance advises day centers on ways to promote distancing, including how to arrange tables and chairs in common areas, minimizing foot traffic in typically crowded areas, separating entry and exit points, and establishing physical barriers like plexiglass windows at reception desks. And, it recommends protocols on transportation, isolating staff and participants who begin to exhibit symptoms, staggering meal and activity times, and creating pods or cohorts to minimize close contacts across all individuals in the center.

LeadingAge recommends that members who provide services in a day center review the guidance and consider adopting the recommended approaches. As always, also be sure to follow any requirements or guidance established at the state and/or local levels.