Updated Visitation Guidelines for Safe Start Plan (effective 3/18/2021)

Updated Visitation Guidelines for Safe Start Plan (effective 3/18/2021)

The changes still recommend outdoor visits, whenever possible. The guidelines add new options for indoor visitation as follows:

Indoor Visitation

Facilities should allow indoor visitation, except for a few circumstances when visitation should be limited due to a high risk of COVID-19 transmission. Either the visitor or resident must be fully vaccinated for indoor visitation to occur. Compassionate care visits should be permitted at all times, including during the times outlined below when regular visitation is curtailed. These scenarios for limiting indoor visitation include:

  • Unvaccinated residents, unless the visitor is fully vaccinated
  • Residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated until they have met the criteria to discontinue Transmission-Based Precautions; or
  • Residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met criteria for release from quarantine.


  • Fully Vaccinated refers to a person who is ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine.

The AFH must update policies and procedures to include the following new items:

  • Post at the entrance, and with the visitor log, vaccination requirements for visitation, as well as a notice that it is a violation of the Governor’s Proclamation for visitors to visit if they are unvaccinated and the resident is unvaccinated
  • The AFH must establish policies and procedures around tours of the home for the purpose of screening for prospective new residents. The policies and procedures should include when tours will occur, screening process before entry of visitor(s) into the home, movement about the facility during the tour, and adherence to core principles of infection prevention.
  • Visitors must sign in, including contact information, in a visitor’s log. Visitors must acknowledge they have reviewed the notice about unvaccinated visitors. The log of visitors must be kept for 30 days

Additionally, the guidance for quarantining after a new admission and following community visits has been modified as the risk assessment now includes guidance for fully vaccinated people. Risk Assessment Template to Assess COVID-19 Exposure Risk for Residents/Clients after Community Visits (wa.gov)

Masking, social distancing, and all infection control protocols remain in place.

We will be working on updating all our sample policies and incorporating new documents/forms as they are released by DSHS and DOH.

About the author
John Ficker
I am the Executive Director of the Adult Family Home Council. I like working with AFH operators all around the state.


  1. I am getting closer to starting an AFH. I am thinking of signing up with AFH council. What services do you have that would be beneficial to me?

    1. I have been with our association from the conception. They have provided counsel for me, education, webinars with medical experts, endless forms to enhance my business. Really there isn’t anything I have asked for that the association hasn’t supplied. Most importantly they lobby for legislation for us. Kept our fees lower than what the state has desired. John and his team are fighters for us. I am going to expand my business and I refuse to think about alternative licensing because I’m not willing to be without our association. They are invaluable to me. Hope you join our team!

  2. Are there time limits now on how long a vaccinated visitor and resident can visit or is it up to each adult care home?

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