38 CFR 51.200 - Physical environment.

§ 51.200 Physical environment.

The facility management must be designed, constructed, equipped, and maintained to protect the health and safety of residents, personnel and the public.

(a)Life safety from fire. The facility must meet the applicable provisions of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code and NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code.

(b)Emergency power.

(1) An emergency electrical power system must be provided to supply power adequate for illumination of all exit signs and lighting for the means of egress, fire alarm and medical gas alarms, emergency communication systems, and generator task illumination.

(2) The system must be the appropriate type essential electrical system in accordance with the applicable provisions of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code and NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code.

(3) When electrical life support devices are used, an emergency electrical power system must also be provided for devices in accordance with NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code.

(4) The source of power must be an on-site emergency standby generator of sufficient size to serve the connected load or other approved sources in accordance with NFPA 101, Life Safety Code and NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code.

(c)Space and equipment. Facility management must -

(1) Provide sufficient space and equipment in dining, health services, recreation, and program areas to enable staff to provide residents with needed services as required by these standards and as identified in each resident's plan of care; and

(2) Maintain all essential mechanical, electrical, and patient care equipment in safe operating condition.

(d)Resident rooms. Resident rooms must be designed and equipped for adequate nursing care, comfort, and privacy of residents:

(1) Bedrooms must -

(i) Accommodate no more than four residents;

(ii) Measure at least 115 net square feet per resident in multiple resident bedrooms;

(iii) Measure at least 150 net square feet in single resident bedrooms;

(iv) Measure at least 245 net square feet in small double resident bedrooms; and

(v) Measure at least 305 net square feet in large double resident bedrooms used for spinal cord injury residents. It is recommended that the facility have one large double resident bedroom for every 30 resident bedrooms.

(vi) Have direct access to an exit corridor;

(vii) Be designed or equipped to assure full visual privacy for each resident;

(viii) Except in private rooms, each bed must have ceiling suspended curtains, which extend around the bed to provide total visual privacy in combination with adjacent walls and curtains;

(ix) Have at least one window to the outside; and

(x) Have a floor at or above grade level.

(2) The facility management must provide each resident with -

(i) A separate bed of proper size and height for the safety of the resident;

(ii) A clean, comfortable mattress;

(iii) Bedding appropriate to the weather and climate; and

(iv) Functional furniture appropriate to the resident's needs, and individual closet space in the resident's bedroom with clothes racks and shelves accessible to the resident.

(e)Toilet facilities. Each resident room must be equipped with or located near toilet and bathing facilities. It is recommended that public toilet facilities be also located near the resident's dining and recreational areas.

(f)Resident call system. The nurse's station must be equipped to receive resident calls through a communication system from -

(1) Resident rooms; and

(2) Toilet and bathing facilities.

(g)Dining and resident activities. The facility management must provide one or more rooms designated for resident dining and activities. These rooms must -

(1) Be well lighted;

(2) Be well ventilated;

(3) Be adequately furnished; and

(4) Have sufficient space to accommodate all activities.

(h)Other environmental conditions. The facility management must provide a safe, functional, sanitary, and comfortable environment for the residents, staff and the public. The facility must -

(1) Establish procedures to ensure that water is available to essential areas when there is a loss of normal water supply;

(2) Have adequate outside ventilation by means of windows, or mechanical ventilation, or a combination of the two;

(3) Equip corridors with firmly secured handrails on each side; and

(4) Maintain an effective pest control program so that the facility is free of pests and rodents.


(1) Incorporation by reference of these materials was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 1 CFR part 51. These materials incorporated by reference are available for inspection at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Regulation Policy and Management (02REG), 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420, call 202-461-4902, or at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.

(2) National Fire Protection Association, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02269. (For ordering information, call toll-free 1-800-344-3555).

(i) NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code, Including all Gas & Vacuum System Requirements, (2012 Edition).

(ii) NFPA 101, Life Safety Code (2012 edition).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101, 501, 1710, 1741-1743)
[ 65 FR 968, Jan. 6, 2000, as amended at 74 FR 19434, Apr. 29, 2009; 76 FR 11340, Mar. 2, 2011; 80 FR 44862, July 28, 2015]

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.

United States Code

Title 38 published on 09-Jun-2018 03:51

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 38 CFR Part 51 after this date.

  • 2015-07-28; vol. 80 # 144 - Tuesday, July 28, 2015
    1. 80 FR 44859 - Update to NFPA Standards, Incorporation by Reference
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      Final rule.
      This regulation is effective August 27, 2015. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of August 27, 2015.
      38 CFR Parts 17, 51, 52, and 59
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