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July 20, 2021

In this Issue:

  1. Consumer Voice Awarded Grant to Continue Operating Ombudsman Resource Center
  2. New Issue Brief on Training of Temporary Nurse Aides
  3. Session Topics at the 2021 Consumer Voice Annual Conference

Consumer Voice Awarded Grant to Continue Operating Ombudsman Resource Center

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has been awarded a five-year Cooperative Agreement from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to continue to operate the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC).

The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) provides support, technical assistance, and training to the 53 State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs (Ombudsman programs) and their statewide networks of 517 local Ombudsman entities (LOEs). NORC products and activities are intended to enhance the skills, knowledge, and management capacity of state Ombudsman programs to enable them to effectively respond to residents’ complaints and represent their interests on both an individual and systemic level. NORC strives to strengthen the program by highlighting innovative, effective approaches for providing Ombudsman program services to long-term care facility residents, regardless of age.
Over the next five-years, the Center will provide technical assistance and training to Ombudsmen, designated representatives of the Office (both paid and volunteer), and state agencies on aging to support credible, effective, and equitable Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs.

Consumer Voice has operated the NORC since 1993 and been involved in the NORC since 1988 and we are grateful for this opportunity to continue to support the important work of Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs across the country.

Learn more about NORC's future special projects and training opportunities.

New Issue Brief on Training of Temporary Nurse Aides

In order to address anticipated staffing shortages within nursing homes and the suspension of training programs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in March 2020 waived a long-standing federal requirement that nurse aides be fully trained and certified within four months of being hired. Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) provide the most direct care to nursing home residents, helping with personal care services such as transfers, ambulation, and assistance with eating and toileting. There is no official term for nurse aides hired during the pandemic under the CMS waiver, although they are often referred to as temporary nurse aides (TNAs).

It is anticipated and hoped that many TNAs will stay in the field and become CNAs. However, these workers must have the appropriate training to deliver high quality care to residents. To equip CNAs with the skills they need, federal regulations require CNAs to complete 75 hours of training. There are currently efforts by both CMS and the states to weaken the federal nurse aide training standards. CMS has released guidance encouraging states to consider crediting TNAs for time worked as a substitute for federally required training hours. At the same time, multiple states have already enacted or have pending legislation that also counts hours worked as hours trained; similar legislation has been introduced at the federal level (H.R. 331).

Reduced training puts residents and staff at risk.  Less training leaves workers less equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to provide quality care.  Workers with less training are more likely to be injured and to cause injury to residents. Furthermore, work experience as a TNA during the pandemic does not equate to training.

Reducing the number of training hours to less than 75 hours is a step in the wrong direction and would result in TNAs being ill-prepared for their important work. To ensure quality care for nursing home residents, TNAs must complete the federally required 75-hour training.

Read the Issue Brief.

Session Topics at the 2021 Consumer Voice Annual Conference

Registration is now open for the 2021 Consumer Voice Virtual Annual Conference, November 3-5, 2021.  Expert speakers, the most up-to-date policy information, best practices shared from across the country, and networking with a community of other long-term care advocates - our virtual conference will include the same great content you expect from a Consumer Voice Conference with unique opportunities to connect online.  Registration for the conference includes three full days of LIVE programming plus 30 days of access to the recorded sessions after the event.

Session Topics to Include:

  • Finding a new systems approach to ombudsman advocacy
  • A look at state surveys: what residents, families, and advocates should expect
  • Family advocacy during COVID-19
  • What advocates should know and do about the direct care workforce crisis
  • Building a state advocacy organization
  • Addressing inequities and disparities of care
  • Preventing neglect and abuse of residents
  • Strengthening the caregiving team
  • Improving guardianship policy and practice
  • Increasing outreach to the LGBTQ community
  • Train the Trainer: a new curriculum for Long-Term Care Ombudsmen
  • Pushing for transformational change

and more ...

Who is the conference for?

Many individuals and organizations will find the conference useful, including:

  • Long-term care consumers,
  • Family members of long-term care consumers,
  • Long-term care Ombudsman programs,
  • Long-term care providers and staff,
  • Attorneys,
  • Advocates, and
  • All others interested in the quality care and quality of life of long-term care consumers.

Learn more about the conference and register.

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