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October 25, 2022

In this Issue:

  1. Biden-Harris Administration Announces Actions to Increase Accountability and Improve Quality in Nursing Homes
  2. New Podcast Episode on Inspiring Unity within Our Community
  3. New Fact Sheet on Community Engagement within Long-Term Care Facilities
  4. New Fact Sheet on Guidance for Masking When Visiting a Nursing Home
  5. Fact Sheet from NCEA on Less Restrictive Decision-Making Options Than Guardianship
  6. Webinar on Finding an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Long-Term Care Community
  7. Virtual Office Hour Tomorrow on Residents' Rights

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Actions to Increase Accountability and Improve Quality in Nursing Homes

On Friday, October 21, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced new actions to increase accountability and improve quality in nursing homes.  
Central to Friday’s announcement were changes to the Special Focus Facilities (SFF) Program.  Administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the SFF program places special scrutiny on select nursing homes with a documented pattern of providing poor care. (See the most recent list of SFF.)  The changes to the SFF program include:

  • Escalating penalties for violations in nursing homes that fail to improve, including considering terminating facilities from the Medicare and Medicaid programs that continue to be cited for dangerous violations;
  • Stricter requirements that a nursing home must meet in order to graduate from the program;
  • Continued close scrutiny of the facility for at least 3 years after a facility leaves; and
  • Increased engagement by CMS with the poor-performing nursing homes in the program to help them understand how to improve.

Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) announced newly available funds to support good-quality nursing home jobs.  HHS and DOL have made funds available to increase the number of nursing educators, expand nursing education and training, and support the nursing workforce pipeline.

For more information about the new actions from the Biden-Harris Administration, read the fact sheet.

New Podcast Episode on Inspiring Unity within Our Community

Residents' Rights podcastFor decades the Consumer Voice has designated October as Residents’ Rights Month as a way to honor residents living in long-term care. This month is an opportunity to focus on the commitment to recognize the value of each resident and the importance of treating every resident with dignity and respect.

In a new episode of the Pursuing Quality Care podcast, join us as we speak about this year’s Residents’ Rights Month theme, Inspiring Unity within Our Community. Lori Smetanka, Executive Director at Consumer Voice, and Jocelyn Bogdan, Senior Policy Specialist at Consumer Voice discuss why having a community is important, how residents can exercise their rights around their community, and examples of ways residents, families, and staff can help build a community for residents living in long-term care.
 
Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Facebook or our website.

New Fact Sheet on Community Engagement within Long-Term Care Facilities

Community fact sheetCommunities are essential to the physical and mental health of everyone, including long-term care residents. During the COVID-19 pandemic, residents were isolated from their communities both inside and outside of their facility. Many residents who were separated from their friends, loved ones, and neighbors, during the pandemic showed signs of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Now that restrictions have been lifted, residents are re-establishing their roles in their communities.

A new fact sheet, Inspiring Community Engagement with Long-Term Care Facilities, provides ideas for building community within a long-term care facilitiy and becoming a part of the larger community outside of the facility.

New Fact Sheet on Guidance for Masking When Visiting a Nursing Home

Masking Guidance Fact SheetOn September 23, 2022, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) updated their guidance for masking during visitation in nursing homes. Recommendations for masking in nursing homes are based on community transmission levels which are the number of new COVID-19 cases in a particular area in the previous seven days. When community transmissions levels are high, masking is recommended in all health care settings, including long-term care facilities. When community transmission levels are not high, and the facility is not experiencing an outbreak, a facility could choose to not require visitors to wear a mask or face covering.

REMEMBER! Regardless of the COVID-19 community transmission level, when visiting a resident, you should follow their preference about masking in their presence. The nursing home is their home, and the choice should be theirs.

Read our new one-page fact sheet for simple information on when masking is recommended in a long-term care facility.

Fact Sheet from NCEA on Less Restrictive Decision-Making Options Than Guardianship

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) has released a fact sheet, "Decision-Making Options That Are Less Restrictive Than Guardianship." Guardianship is the appointment by a court of an individual or entity to make personal, health care, and/or financial decisions for an adult whom the court finds unable to make decisions for themselves. Less restrictive alternatives are ways to help someone else make decisions without going to court and without removing rights through guardianship. These options may meet the decision-making needs of an adult in ways that support their preferences and independence. The fact sheet provides information on supported decision-making and options for health, personal, and financial decision-making.

The fact sheet accompanies an episode of the Guardianship Podcast with law and aging experts Naomi Karp, JD and Erica F. Wood, JD.

Webinar on Finding an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Long-Term Care Community

Join AARP, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and SAGE for a webinar on Thursday, November 17th at 3:00pm ET, entitled "Finding an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Long-Term Care Community."  Everyone deserves to feel welcome and safe when moving to a long-term care community. Listen to the webinar for tips on how to assess and identify LGBTQ+ welcoming long-term care communities.

Register Now

Virtual Office Hour Tomorrow on Residents' Rights

The National Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) is hosting a virtual open office hour the last Wednesday of each month at 2:00 pm ET for long-term care Ombudsmen representatives. The next call is tomorrow, Tuesday, October 26th. This is an opportunity to ask questions, share information, and have open conversations with your peers and NORC staff.

The focus of the October call will be Residents’ Rights. These Zoom calls do not include a structured presentation and are open to all State Ombudsmen and their program representatives. These calls will not be recorded and do not require registration. Use this link to join: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85675114259.

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