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Note that the webinar "Staying Connected While Apart: A conversation for families with loved ones in long-term care facilities" on Tuesday, August 13th is open to residents of Maine only and is sponsored by the Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

August 4, 2020

In this Issue:

  1. Take Action Now: Oppose Immunity for Nursing Homes that Harm Residents
  2. Join the Call-In Day TODAY to Urge the Senate to Include HCBS Funding in the COVID-19 Relief Bill
  3. Survey for Nursing Home Residents on Their Experience During COVID-19
  4. Webinar Materials Available
  5. Resident's Voice Challenge: Postcard Artwork Contest

Take Action Now: Oppose Immunity for Nursing Homes that Harm Residents
Last week, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, introduced a bill that would have devastating consequences on nursing home residents. The legislation, called the Safe to Work Act (S 4317), would remove a nursing home’s liability for all negligent care that harms or results in the death of residents from 2019 until 2024 - including harm totally unrelated to COVID-19.  Consumer Voice, with other advocates, sent a letter to Congressional leaders opposing the Safe to Work Act.
 
Over 62,000 residents of long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.  Countless other residents have fallen victim to short-staffing and inadequate care during the same time.  At a time when residents of nursing homes need more protections than ever, this bill would rob them of their right to pursue justice through the courts. Without accountability there is nothing to deter facility practices and actions that harm residents.

Congress may be deciding what to do with immunity as soon as this weekend. Use our advocacy tool to tell Congress to say NO to granting immunity to nursing homes and other long term care facilities!:

Take Action Now »

Join the Call-In Day TODAY to Urge the Senate to Include HCBS Funding in the COVID-19 Relief Bill
Join the disability community in a call-in day TODAY Tuesday, August 4th, to urge the Senate to include funding for home and community-based services (HCBS) in the coronavirus relief bill being negotiated.  HCBS funding is crucial to help people with disabilities and older adults stay safe in their own homes. The Senate introduced a coronavirus relief package, the HEALS Act, last week but it has no funding for HCBS. The House included dedicated funding for HCBS in the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) passed in May, and the Senate must do the same (with a clarification that all HCBS, including community mental health services, are included).
 
Even if you’ve called or emailed before, or shared your HCBS story on social media, contact your Senators again. It’s urgent that they hear from as many of us as possible, as soon as possible to get dedicated HCBS funding included in the final bill. Take Action Now »

Survey for Nursing Home Residents on Their Experience During COVID-19
Altarum's Program to Improve Eldercare is seeking nursing home residents to take the “COVID-19 Nursing Home Resident Survey.” This simple questionnaire is designed to be completed in 20 minutes or less.

  • Residents can take the survey on a computer, a tablet or a smartphone – either their own, or one that is lent to them.
  • Residents are encouraged to complete the survey on their own, if they are able
  • Residents who want to answer the questions and need help can choose to be assisted by a family member or friend.
  • If no family or friend can help, a member of the nursing home staff can assist.
  • Once the resident is done answering the questions, they just click Submit – no other action is needed.
  • Survey responses are due Monday, August 31st.

Use this survey link:  https://stats.altarum.org/limesurvey/index.php/382131?lang=en.

Webinar Materials Available
COVID-19 Advocating for Nursing Home Residents - Part XI

The landscape of COVID-19 response in nursing homes continues to evolve rapidly at the federal and state levels. The webinar series from Consumer Voice, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Long Term Care Community Coalition and Justice in Aging reviews the latest updates, issuances from CMS, legislation, and strategies for advocates and families.

Staying Connected from a Distance to People Living with Dementia in Long-Term Care

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in families unable to visit their loved ones living in long-term care facilities. For many residents and families, particularly some living with dementia, virtual forms of communication, such as video conferencing or phone calls have not been successful. How can families successfully communicate with their loved ones with dementia from a distance? How can staff be better equipped to understand the needs of the individual to provide better care, particularly as efforts are being made to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep residents and staff safe?

During this discussion with Kim Grier, a leading voice in the field of dementia care and managing director of Grier Dementia Training, we addressed these questions and other issues for staying connected from a distance with people living with dementia in long-term care facilities

COVID-19 and Ombudsman Programs: Understanding How Trauma Impacts You, Residents, and Your Advocacy - Part IV: Grief and Mourning in a Time of COVID-19

In partnership with the Colorado Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, Consumer Voice and NORC offered a four-part webinar series regarding the impact of trauma due to the COVID-19 pandemic on long-term care residents and Ombudsman programs. The webinar series highlighted important themes related to trauma-informed care, person-centered care, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma.  This webinar addressed understanding and coping with grief during COVID-19. See materials from all webinars in the series on the NORC website.

Resident's Voice Challenge: Postcard Artwork Contest
Residents are invited to creatively respond to the 2020 Residents’ Rights Month theme "Connection Matters."

Postcard Artwork Contest
This year, we'll be selecting original resident artwork to be featured on a series of postcards.

  • Create a piece of art that reflects why connections matter to you or how you stay connected.
  • Types of artwork submissions: drawings, paintings, sketches, original photography - get creative!
  • We will select some resident artwork to be featured on the Consumer Voice website and on postcards available in the Consumer Voice online store. Send postcards to resident, family and friends as a way to stay connected while visiting is difficult.
  • Residents will be notified if their artwork has been selected.  Residents whose artwork is selected will receive a set of postcards.

How to Submit Artwork:

  • Email: Take a high-resolution photo of your artwork and email the JPG or PNG file to info@theconsumervoice.org. Is your file too large to email? Send us a note at info@theconsumervoice.org and we can arrange the transfer of large files.

OR

  • Mail: Send the original version of your artwork to our office (use large, sturdy envelopes or mailing tubes if needed).  Address as:

Consumer Voice
Attn: Resident’s Voice Challenge
1001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 632
Washington, DC 20036

Deadline for submissions is September 1, 2020.

Find more information on the Consumer Voice website.

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