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March 23, 2021

In this Issue:

  1. Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Hearing on Private Equity in the  U.S. Health Care System
  2. Resources for Avoiding Drugs as Chemical Restraints
  3. Geriatric Nurse Experts Call on CMS to Mandate Adequate Professional Nurse Staffing in Nursing Homes
  4. National Volunteer Week is April 18-24
  5. Materials Available to Promote Older Americans Month in May

Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Hearing on Private Equity in the U.S. Health Care System

The U.S. Ways and Means Committee Oversight Subcommittee is holding a hearing on Thurday, March 25th at 1:00pm ET.  The hearing will focus on Examining Private Equity's Expanded Role in the U.S. Health Care System. Witnesses have not yet been announced.  View the livestream of the hearing on the Ways and Means Committee's website.

Resources for Avoiding Drugs as Chemical Restraints

ChemicalRestraintsLogo_RGB.pngEveryone who enters a nursing home deserves quality, person-centered care. Too many residents, however, particularly those living with dementia, are being given off-label antipsychotic drugs to control their behavior instead of quality care. These drugs can have serious, life threatening side effects for older people.  Consumer Voice's consumer education campaign "Avoiding Drugs as Chemical Restraints: Changing the Culture of Care" provides resources and information about the risks of antipsychotic drugs, residents' rights, and what to do if you are uncertain about medications being given to you or your loved one.

Plus, listen to our podcast, "Pursuing Quality Long-Term Care," as we talk with national experts and advocates about strategies you can use in the pursuit of quality long-term care.

Geriatric Nurse Experts Call on CMS to Mandate Adequate Professional Nurse Staffing in Nursing Homes

An article has been published in the American Journal of Nursing calling on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to mandate adequate professional nurse staffing in nursing homes.  The article, authored by expert geriatric nurse scientists and clinicians, seeks to bring attention to the lack of professional nursing presence in nursing homes and to highlight the association between low RN (Registered Nurse) staffing levels and poor health outcomes.  CMS requires only one licensed nurse be on duty 24 hours per day at a nursing home.  An RN is only required to be on duty for 8 of those hours; the other 16 hours can be covered by an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse).  Licensed RNs are the only type of nurse who has the legal authority and educational background to assess and plan for residents' care, supervise the provision of care, and monitor the health status of residents. 

The article serves as a call to action to CMS to mandate a 24/7 onsite RN; mandate 24 hour RN staffing levels at a minimum of one hour per resident-day; and partner with professional nursing organizations to ensure certification of directors of nursing in nursing homes.

Access the Article

National Volunteer Week is April 18-24

The theme for the April 18-24, 2021 National Volunteer Week is Shining a Light on the People and Causes That Inspire Us to Serve.  Due to the dedicated service of volunteers, resident access to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program is enhanced significantly and thousands of residents receive information about their rights and have assistance and support in resolving their concerns. In federal fiscal year 2019, 5,947 volunteers trained and designated to investigate and resolve complaints, contributing 514,016 hours of service to Ombudsman programs across in the country.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs: Thank your volunteers and recognize their work publicly by sending the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) brief messages of appreciation for their dedicated advocacy (e.g., examples of their advocacy, years of service, photos). NORC will post your message on its website and highlight the submissions on its home page. Email your submissions to ombudcenter@theconsumervoice.org. Plus, read the recent issue of NORC Notes for ideas for celebrating volunteers while social distancing.

Materials Available to Promote Older Americans' Month in May

Every May, the Administration for Community Living leads the observance of Older Americans Month (OAM).  This year's theme is "Communities of Strength."  This OAM celebrates the strength of older adults and the Aging Network, with special emphasis on the power of connection and engagement in building strong communities.  Promotional materials are available for OAM including posters, logos, social media graphics, and more.

Visit the OAM Website

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