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February 16, 2021

In this Issue:

  1. Sign the Petition to Reunite Nursing Home Residents with Their Loved Ones
  2. Join the Day of Action Tomorrow to Urge Congress to Include Dedicated HCBS Funding in COVID-19 Package
  3. COVID-19 Recovery and Reentry Resources for Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs
  4. "Voices from the Inside" - Residents and Families Share Their Stories

Sign the Petition to Reunite Nursing Home Residents with Their Loved Ones

On March 13, 2021, it will be one year since state and federal officials banned visits in nursing homes. Initially put in place to protect residents from COVID-19, the visitation ban has resulted in tens of thousands of residents suffering and dying from isolation, loneliness, and poor care. It is time to stop the suffering and open the doors.

Sign the petition to call on federal and state officials to immediately:

  • Allow every resident to designate an Essential Support Person (ESP). ESPs must be allowed unrestricted access to the resident who has designated them in order to provide physical and emotional support, as well as assistance in meeting the resident's needs. ESPs should be treated as employees of the facility for infection control purposes, including routine COVID-19 testing and the wearing of PPE.
  • Allow general indoor and outdoor visitation for all residents in accordance with the CMS Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention consistent with CDC guidance. Visitation must occur in addition to resident designation of an ESP. Length and number of visits must be in accordance with a resident's needs and preferences but be at least one hour weekly. Visitation must occur regardless of the level of COVID-19 positivity in the surrounding community or in the facility.

Safe visitation and support for residents are possible through proper infection control procedures. Importantly, residents will be reunited with their loved ones after a year of being isolated alone without proper care.

Sign the Petition Now

Thank you to all those who participated in Friday's Twitter Storm to #OpenNursingHomeDoors and reunite nursing home residents with their loved ones. Your tweets and stories help amplify this issue.

Join the Day of Action Tomorrow to Urge Congress to Include Dedicated HCBS Funding in COVID-19 Package

Join the day of action tomorrow to urge Congress to include dedicated funding for Medicaid home and community based services (HCBS) in the final COVID-19 package. The new brief from Community Living Policy Center shows that without dedicated HCBS funding, people with disabilities and aging adults will not be able to access the services that they need. Congress must provide dedicated funding for Medicaid HCBS so disabled people & older adults can stay safely at home with the services and supports they need.

Participate tomorrow by tweeting your support of dedicated Medicaid HCBS funding and completing these actions from The Arc and the National Council on Aging.

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

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).

The resources are divided into two primary groups. One set of resources provide program management considerations and templates for State Ombudsmen to assist with developing program policies and procedures and practices during the pandemic. The other resources are intended to support representatives in performing duties during COVID-19 such as conducting visits safely, responding to and documenting complaints, and communicating with residents while wearing a face covering.

View the Resources

"Voices from the Inside" - Residents and Families Share Their Stories

Resident QuoteNursing home residents and their loved ones continue to suffer as visitation is limited.  Visit our webpage to hear "Voices from the Inside," stories of residents and their families during the pandemic.

  • "I noticed that so many of my neighbors, whom I really cared about, went downhill so badly that they had to be put on psychotropic medications. I actually think that some of them did worse because I understand 'lockdown,' which they're now questioning, but I feel that some of them have suffered more from some of the side effects of being locked down so tightly than the coronavirus itself."
  • We lost four people this year— good friends of ours. I never even felt it would happen to them, and it’s very hard to adjust to that our friends are not here anymore … different patients would come and tell me who it was, and it was a shock because they were really close friends of mine. I cried because we were all so close.
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