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March 9, 2021

In this Issue:

  1. New CDC Guidance for Vaccinated People in Non-Healthcare Settings
  2. Consumer Voice, Other Organizations Call on CMS to Safely Open Nursing Homes
  3. New Podcast Episode on the Effects of Lockdowns on Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities
  4. Workshop on Cultivating Resilience, Compassion and Mindfulness from the Center for Practical Bioethics

New CDC Guidance for Vaccinated People in Non-Healthcare Settings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance yesterday on what activities COVID-19 vaccinated people could do in "non-healthcare settings."  The CDC's guidance does not directly address long-term care or congregate settings.  However, it does state that fully vaccinated individuals can gather in private settings unmasked with other vaccinated individuals and with unvaccinated individuals who are not at risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19.

See the CDC's Guidance

Consumer Voice, Other Organizations Call on CMS to Safely Open Nursing Homes

Consumer Voice, along with a number of other organizations and individuals, sent a letter with a detailed set of recommendations to CMS requesting that the agency take immediate measures to safely open the doors of nursing homes.

On March 13, 2021 it will be one year since CMS issued guidance that closed nursing home doors.  The impact of this lockdown has been devastating to residents – physical, mental, and cognitive deterioration; severe emotional distress; decline in personal appearance; and more.  The toll on residents has been accelerated by a decline in qualified staff; lack of monitoring and assistance from family members; and the absence of regular onsite visits by state surveyors and advocacy by long-term care ombudsmen.

Consumer Voice and other advocates believe the time has come to stop this suffering. The implementation of the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and the reduced likelihood of contracting and dying from the virus has altered the risk-benefit analysis. Now, although the risk to residents from COVID is decreasing, the risk of harm from isolation and neglect is increasing, as residents continue to go without care and companionship for a longer period of time.  

Read Consumer Voice's full recommendations.

New Podcast Episode on the Effects of Lockdowns on Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities

On March 13, 2021, it will be one year since the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an order preventing everyone but essential healthcare workers from entering facilities. To date, despite some loosening of visitation restrictions, tens of thousands of residents have still not seen their families and loved ones in person. Chronic short-staffing of nursing homes that plagued facilities before the pandemic has gotten worse, with almost 1 in 5 facilities reporting staff shortages in aides. As a result, the lockdown has resulted in many residents suffering from isolation and neglect.

In late 2020, The Consumer Voice conducted an informal survey of families that had visited with their loved ones to learn how the lockdown has impacted residents' condition. The overwhelming response was that families met residents who had experienced significant declines in their physical and mental health. In a new episode of the Pursuing Quality Long-Term Care podcast, Sam Brooks and Lori Smetanka of Consumer Voice will discuss the survey results and Consumer Voice’s call to safely reopen facilities so that families can provide necessary care and support to residents.

Listen to the Podcast

Workshop on Cultivating Resilience, Compassion and Mindfulness from the Center for Practical Bioethics

Join the Center for Practical Bioethics for a workshop with Barry Kerzin, MD entitled "Cultivating Resilience, Compassion and Mindfulness."  The workshop, designed especially for frontline healthcare workers and open to all, will provide practical tools for coping with the uniquely stressful demands of the COVID pandemic. Dr. Kerzin will engage participants in four elements of Healing – Resilience, Compassion, Mindfulness and Meditation.

Register Now

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