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Ombudsman Outlook
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September 2020 | Volume 7, Issue 1 

In this issue:

COVID-19: Updates and Resources for Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs

COVID-19 Recovery and Reentry Resources for Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs 

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The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly impacted residents of long-term care facilities, staff, families, and Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs. In-person visitation restrictions imposed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 required Ombudsman programs to adapt quickly to ensure residents continue to have access to program services. 

In-person visits with residents are a core part of Ombudsman program outreach and advocacy and there is no substitute; however, during this crisis programs often need to use other means to connect with residents and investigate and resolve complaints. 

In anticipation of resuming in-person visits, the National Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) convened a workgroup to discuss issues regarding Ombudsman program services during the pandemic and to provide input on COVID-19 Recovery and Reentry Resources. Workgroup members included representatives of the National Association of State Ombudsman Programs (NASOP) and the National Association of Local Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs (NALLTCO). 

Training Series on Understanding Trauma and Ensuring Person-Centered Care During COVID-19 for Family Members, Administrators, and Direct Care Staff 

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NORC released four training topics for three audiences: facility administrators, direct care staff, and family members of individuals living in long-term care facilities, as part of the training series, Understanding Trauma and Ensuring Person-Centered Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

For this series, Dr. Sheri Gibson (see bio) provides training on the following topics: person-centered care, trauma-informed care, compassion fatigue, and anxiety and grief in a time of COVID-19. Each topic will include one webinar recording and slides for each audience.

Learn more »

New and Updated Resources

NEW! Understanding Trauma and Person-Centered Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic Training Series 

NORC released four training topics for three audiences: facility administrators, direct care staff, and family members of individuals living in long-term care facilities. For this series, Dr. Sheri Gibson (see bio) provides training on the following topics: person-centered care; trauma-informed care; compassion fatigue; and anxiety and grief in a time of COVID-19. Each topic includes one webinar recording and slides for each audience. The training series is also available in the On-Demand Training Center and includes quiz questions and answers after each topic. 

NEW! COVID-19 Recovery and Reentry Resources 

In anticipation of resuming in-person visits, the National Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) convened a workgroup to discuss issues regarding Ombudsman program services during the pandemic and to provide input on COVID-19 Recovery and Reentry Resources. 

NEW! End of Grant Year Wrap-Up 

July 2019 – June 2020 was the third year of a three-year grant funded by the Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging (ACL/AoA) for the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (CV) to operate the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC). As we finish the third year, we would like to thank all the State Ombudsmen and representatives of the Office that shared your experiences, resources, and input with NORC. Read highlights of resources and activities completed by NORC over the past year here

NEW! July, August, and September NORC Notes 

NORC Notes is a monthly email reminder of available resources on the NORC website and tips for how your program can use them. The July issue highlighted cultural competency for long-term care Ombudsman programs, the August issue reviewed NORS resources, and the September issue provided COVID-19 and emergency preparedness resources. Sign-up to receive NORC Notes

UPDATED! COVID-19 NORS FAQs 

The COVID-19 NORS FAQs have been updated to include three additional questions and answers related to connecting with facility staff and one question regarding counting outdoor and/or “window visits” as visits. View the FAQs on the NORC website or in a PDF

TA Hot Topic - COVID-19: What are the updates on resuming nursing home visitation?

On September 17, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new guidance, which is effective immediately, allowing the resumption of visitation in nursing homes if certain conditions are met. 

Below you will find a summary of the guidance and what it means for residents and Ombudsman programs. 

Learn more »

NORS Corner: Updated COVID-19 FAQs

nors-faqs-covid.pngIn-person visits with residents are a core part of Ombudsman program outreach and advocacy and NORS reinforces this importance by requesting that Ombudsman programs report all visits. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, visits have been dramatically curtailed.  It is important that Ombudsman programs accurately reflect this decrease to show the impact of the pandemic on the program and residents. 

The COVID-19 NORS FAQs have been updated to include three additional questions and answers related to connecting with facility staff and one question regarding counting outdoor and/or “window visits” as visits. View the FAQs on the NORC website or in a PDF

Learn more »

News from the Network

Oklahoma State Ombudsman, William Whited, Testifies on COVID-19’s Impact on Residents in Long-Term Care Facilities

Marsha Evans, Friendly Visitor Program Manager, Works to Connect with Long-Term Care Residents During COVID-19

New Jersey State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Laurie Facciarossa Brewer, Provides Testimony

Texas Ombudsman, Greg Shelley, is Interviewed on COVID-19 Nursing Home Data

Pennsylvania State Ombudsman, Margaret Barajas, is Interviewed on Stimulus Checks

Michigan State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Salli Pung, is Interviewed on Nursing Homes Without COVID-19

New Hampshire State Ombudsman, Susan Buxton, Speaks at the State Commission on Aging Meeting about the Harm of Prolonged Isolation for Residents in Long-Term Care Facilities

Minnesota State Ombudsman, Cheryl Hennen, is Interviewed on Evictions During COVID-19

Texas State Ombudsman, Patty Ducayet, is Interviewed by NBC News on COVID-19 in Nursing Homes

Michigan State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Salli Pung, is Appointed by the Governor to the MI Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force

Texas Person-Centered Care Video Series and Teaching Guide 

Volunteer Management: Back to the Basics of Recruiting Volunteers

ASK! 

Since very few people pick up the phone or stop by the office and announce they want to volunteer, Ombudsman programs need to invite individuals to advocate for the rights of residents. One local program, Kern Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, in Bakersfield, California recently revamped their website to make learning what a volunteer Ombudsman is, and how to apply, easier for interested individuals. 

Are you using social media to inform people how you help residents? The Missouri LTCOP developed an ad on their Facebook page and website to bring awareness and some hope to residents and families 

Remember that every representative can be a volunteer recruiter. 

  • Mention the program on your personal Facebook page. 
  • Ask groups you know (e.g., church, community group, neighborhood association) to share information about the program in their newsletters, social media, and other outreach. 
  • Invite a neighbor to visit your program's webpage. 

Let NORC know what YOU are doing to invite individuals to volunteer! Email us at ombudcenter@theconsumervoice.org. 

Quick Tips - 2020 Voting: Ensuring Residents Can Exercise Their Right to Vote

It's another election year. The first step in helping ensure residents of long-term care facilities have the opportunity to vote is to know what has changed. With COVID-19 closing many voting places and election officials encouraging people to vote by mail, the "normal" process of casting a ballot may have changed in your state. Below are some resources to help determine how citizens in your state are to participate in the 2020 national election.

Learn more »

Residents' Rights Month 2020

RRM 2020 - smallOctober is “Residents’ Rights Month,” an annual event designated by Consumer Voice to honor residents living in all long-term care facilities and those receiving care in their home or community. It is an opportunity to focus on and celebrate the dignity, respect, and rights of every individual receiving long-term services and supports. 

This year's theme is Connection Matters. The theme emphasizes connections – to family, to friends, and to the community – as an essential component of good health and quality of life for residents. The months of restrictions on visitation in long-term care facilities and the inability of residents, families, and friends to be together during the coronavirus pandemic has emphasized the importance of connection, of relationships, and the impact they have on all of our well-being. During this crisis, many creative ways of staying connected were shared that can be replicated and built upon in all communities. 

Check back often as Consumer Voice's Residents' Rights Month webpage is updated with additional resources and materials. 

Learn more »

Read past issues of the Ombudsman Outlook on the NORC website. If you did not receive this email directly and would like to sign-up to receive NORC emails please fill out the form on our website. If you would like to receive The Voice (the Consumer Voice weekly e-newsletter) automatically sign-up on the Consumer Voice website. If you have any questions, challenges, or article suggestions related to long-term care Ombudsman advocacy and program management, please let us know.

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