Policy and Procedure: Indoor Visitation Guidelines for State-Operated Developmental Centers

Adopted: 02/23/21; Revised: 04/15/21, 04/06/21, 03/25/21


The Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities recognizes the right of all persons served in State-Operated Developmental Disability Centers (SODCS) to receive regularly scheduled visits. Visitation by family members, friends, and guardians is extremely important to the health, happiness, and well-being of persons served. Following Illinois Department of Human Services' Updated Interim Guidance for Nursing Homes and Other Long-Term Care Facilities and Programs: Phased Reopening (1), DDD has developed the following policy and procedure to ensure safe visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This policy and procedure is consistent with IDPH Long term care guidance updated on March 19, 2021. For SODCs in facility-wide outbreak status, visitation is limited to virtual visitation, outdoor visitation and compassionate care visitation. For SODCs in outbreak contained to one area, indoor visitation for areas not in isolation or quarantine, outdoor visitation and indoor compassionate care visitation are allowed.


  1. All SODCs regardless of outbreak status may have outdoor visits for residents not in isolation or quarantine and compassionate care visits as determined by the interdisciplinary team (IDT).
  2. Per IDPH guidelines when a facility that is not in outbreak status has a new COVID 19, all visitation will stop until all staff and residents are tested for COVID 19 so that it can be determined if the outbreak is confined to one area or facility-wide.
  3. SODC's that have an outbreak confined to one area as determined by testing of all staff and residents, may resume indoor visitation after testing for those areas currently not in quarantine or isolation in addition to outdoor and compassionate care visits.
  4. SODCs that have a facility-wide outbreak may have outdoor visits for residents not in isolation or quarantine and compassionate care visits. Facility-wide is defined as two or more areas in the facility with a positive COVID 19 case.
  5. This fact sheet will be provided to guardians and printed copies made available at the visitor's lobby. Visitors are required to comply with the facility's visitation policy. If a visitor refuses to follow the facility's policy during the visit, then staff may end the visit.
  6. Outdoor visitation is strongly preferred to indoor visits, weather permitting. Outdoor spaces include under a canopy or tent if at least two sides of the tent are open to allow air flow.
  7. No visitors under the age of 18 will be allowed to visit.
  8. Visitation hours when staff are available for screening and supervision of visits will be determined by each facility and posted on every home/cottage/unit/living area.
  9. Visitations must be arranged a minimum of 24 hours in advance; weekend visits must be scheduled by 12 pm on Friday. Scheduled appointments will specify a start/end time and location for each visit. Appointments will limit the number of visitors allowed in each time slot and visitation area. If demand for appointment slots exceeds availability, a limit may be set on the number of appointment slots per week per resident. During the appointment phone call, visitors will be screened using the screening check list.
  10. 10) Visitors will again be screened on arrival and have their temperature taken (see Visitors #4 below).
  11. In the event that a resident is ill on the day of the visit, the scheduled visitation will need to be rescheduled.


  1. When scheduling appointments, visitors will be informed of checkpoint screening locations.
  2. Visitors should arrive early to allow time for checkpoint screenings prior to scheduled visitation appointments.
  3. Visitors will be allowed access to locations designated for the visit, not to other areas of the facility.
  4. All visitors must enter the facility through a checkpoint location and will be screened using a CDC symptom checklist and have their temperature taken. Any visitor that answers "yes" to any question or has a temperature higher than 100 F will not be allowed to visit. Visitors will not be allowed to visit who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days, who have been exposed to an individual who is suspected or known to be COVID-19 positive within the last 14 days, or who are currently displaying COVID-19 like symptoms.
  5. Visitors will be asked to provide their name, address, telephone, and email address (if available) prior to visitation. This information along with the date and time of the visit will be retained according to current visitation log retention policy and may be made available to state and local health departments for inspection and, as needed, for contact tracing. This information must be retained for at least 30 days.
  6. Upon entry, all visitors will be asked to notify the Center Director or designee if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 within 3 days after visiting.
  7. Any visitor displaying observable symptoms of COVID-19 like illness will not be permitted on campus.
  8. Visitors must self-disclose any contact with a COVID19 positive person within the last 14 days and anyone who has had such contact will be prohibited from visiting.
  9. In the event that a resident is ill, the visitation will be rescheduled.
  10. All visitors must use hand sanitizer upon arrival at the center and throughout the visit, as needed.
  11. All visitors must wear face masks throughout the entirety of the visit. The mask must cover the nose and mouth.
    1. In the event the resident refuses to wear a mask, the visitor will be supplied a surgical mask. The visitor must wear eye protection (face shield or eye goggles).
    2. If the resident wears a face mask the visitor may wear a cloth mask/face covering and will not be required to wear eye protection.
  12. Visitors must use hand sanitizer and/or wash their hands prior to interaction with the resident.
  13. If the resident is fully vaccinated (two weeks past second dose of two dose series or two weeks past first dose of one dose series), they can choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor while wearing a well-fitting cloth face mask or face covering and performing hand-hygiene before and after. Regardless, visitors should physically distance from other residents and staff in the facility.
  14. If the resident is not fully vaccinated the Visitor should remain 6 feet apart from the resident during the visitation.
  15. Compassionate Care will be allowed at each Center on a case by case basis, following Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) review and Center Director approval. The following link speaks to this area: http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/coronavirus/long-term-care-guidance
  16. Visitation in a resident's bedroom or other area not designated for visitation will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Staff Members

  1. Visits should occur in large rooms that allow for adequate social distancing. The visitation space should be measured to determine the number of residents and visitors that can be accommodated at one time in that areas with at least 6-foot separation between residents and their visitors. Facilities will post the maximum number of residents and visitors that can occupy the area.
  2. If possible, visitation rooms should have a window open to allow for ventilation.
  3. Markings will be placed on the floor to show how visitors can place themselves with at least six-foot separation.
  4. Signage will be posted to remind visitors about six-foot separation, face covering, and hand hygiene.
  5. The room must be equipped with hand sanitizer and have an EPA registered List N Disinfectant available for use.
  6. When the resident returns to the home/cottage/unit/living area they will thoroughly wash their hands and change their clothing in accordance with approved facility laundry guidelines.
  7. A staff member will supervise visitation areas with multiple stations. Staff members will wear face masks and face shields and maintain social distancing of six feet.
  8. Staff will remind families that zero-physical contact of any kind with the resident will be allowed for those residents that are not fully vaccinated. For fully vaccinated residents that have physical contact with their visitor, both the visitor and individual will be reminded to sanitize their hands after the contact.
  9. The visitation room or designated visitation space in a large area must be thoroughly disinfected after each visit, prior to another use of the room/area. Allow for 15 minutes of time following each disinfection before the next use of the room. The visitation room should contain only non-porous furniture that can be effectively cleaned and disinfected. No furniture with porous properties (cloth coverings, wood, etc.) should be present in visitation room.

1. Ezike, NO. Updated Interim Guidance for Nursing Homes and Other Long-Term Care Facilities and Programs: Phased Reopening. Oct 21, 2020