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Coronavirus in Long-Term Care Facilities: Information for Advocates

As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak continues to evolve, the Consumer Voice will continue to update this page with this latest policy announcements, resources, tools, and tips that Advocates for Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities need for their work.

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Consumer Voice Resources   Consumer Voice Webinars   State COVID-19 Nursing Home Policies

CMS, ACL Resources & Action   Tips to Stay Connected   Additional Resources

For Residents and Families

Consumer Voice Resources



Should I take my loved one home during the COVID-19 crisis?

COVID-19 and Nursing Homes: What Residents and Families Need to Know

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Recommendations for Protecting Residents and Staff of Long-Term Care Facilities


Summary of CMS Waivers for Nursing Homes

The Resident Advocate Newsletter (April 2020)

Consumer Voice Statement in Response to CMS Guidance to Reopen (6/2/2020)

Consumer Voice Statement - The Nursing Home COVID-19 Crisis: More is Needed to Protect Residents and Staff (5/4/2020)

Letter to House Ways and Means Committee Opposing Granting Immunity to Nursing Homes (6/24/2020)

Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Opposing Granting Immunity to Nursing Homes (5/11/20)

Letter from National and State Organizations to CMS Regarding Better Protections for Nursing Home Residents(4/28/20)

Letter to Faith Community Leaders to Increase Efforts to Connect with and Support Older Survivors of Abuse (4/23/20)

Letter from Organizations that Advocate for Older Adults (3/17/20)

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Consumer Voice COVID-Related Webinars

Family Advocacy for Residents During COVID-19 (6/18/2020) - Families are facing many new issues as they support and care for their loved ones in long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the webinar to gain information and tips on how to advocate individually and through family councils for quality care. 

Advocating for Nursing Home Residents - Joint webinar with Consumer Voice, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Long Term Care Community Coalition, and Justice in Aging.

Webinar Materials

Webinar Materials

  • Part I - RecordingSlides (April 17, 2020) - Overview of COVID in nursing homes; Actions to expand coverage, reimbursement; Federal waivers of regulations; CMS Guidance; Advocacy recommendations

  • Part II - RecordingSlides (April 23, 2020; Slides Updated April 27, 2020) - New CMS Guidance; Provider requests for Immunity; State advocacy examples from CA, CT, MA, and MI

  • Part III - RecordingSlides (May 8, 2020) - CMS reporting requirements; CMS waivers of regulatory requirements; Use of CMPs to purchase devices; Administration announcements; Overview of targeted infection control surveys

  • Part IV - RecordingSlides (May 15, 2020) - Transfer requirements and waivers; COVID-only facilities; Nurse Aide training; Testing of residents and staff

  • Part V - RecordingSlides (May 22, 2020) - CMS’s nursing home reopening recommendations; Tips for advocates; GAO report on infection control in nursing homes; Reporting requirements

  • Part VI - RecordingSlides (May 29, 2020) - Tips for advocates; Infection control surveys; State data on reporting, testing, and immunity

  • Part VII - Recording; Slides (June 5, 2020) - CMS, memo on infection control, expanded surveys, state performance, and enhanced enforcement of facilities with infection control deficiencies; Review of newly released COVID data

  • Part VIII - Recording; Slides (June 12, 2020) - Discussion around reuniting residents and families; Stimulus checks; House Oversight Briefing 6.11.20; Concerns raised by residents

  • Part IX - Recording; Slides (June 19, 2020) - Immunity for liability; Federal requirements for protecting residents from abuse, neglect, exploitation

  • Part X - Recording; Slides (June 26, 2020) - CMS guidance on reporting of staffing data; Preparing comments on interim rule on reporting requirements; Reuniting residents and families, with state experiences in Ohio and West Virginia; New CMS FAQs; Social media campaign about visitation

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Impact of Coronavirus on Advance Care Planning - Materials are available from the webinars entitled "The Impact of the Coronavirus Crisis and Pandemic on Advance Care Planning and Re-setting Goals of Care in Nursing Homes" from the Center for Practical Bioethics, AD Vault, and the National Nursing Home Social Work Network.

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State COVID-19 Nursing Home Policies

Consumer Voice is tracking various policies and practices regarding each state's response to the Covid-19 crisis in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Currently, we are tracking: what information a state is providing to the public regarding Covid-19 cases and deaths in long-term care facilities; what a state's policy is on testing residents and staff in those facilities; and whether the state has taken action to grant civil and/or criminal immunity to facilities for substandard care that resulted in the harm or death of a resident in a facility. 

Find your state's information.

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Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Administration for Community Living (ACL)
Resources & Action

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Staying Connected with Family and Friends Living in Long-Term Care Facilities

With new directives placing strict limits on visitors to nursing homes and many assisted living facilities taking similar precautions, friends and families of residents living in long-term care facilities are using creative ways to stay in touch with their loved ones.  

Creative Ideas and Practices for Staying Connected During Isolation

Creative Ideas and Practices for Staying Connected During Isolation

  • Communicate via letters and cards or drop off care packages at the facility.

  • Use technology - video chat, FaceTime, text and email. 

    • If facility staff assist in setting up equipment, request that they leave the resident's room, so you're able to chat privately.

    • If the resident doesn't know how to use the technology, ask local libraries or senior centers to provide training via phone call or video chat.

    • Ask family and friends to send short video greetings that residents can watch at any time. Residents can record videos to send in response.

    • Set up Skype or FaceTime so residents can communicate with each other within the facility.

    • Use the facility's Contac Us page on their website as a way to contact residents.

  • Meet through windows or arrange a time for a visit through a glass door.

  • Send a virtual hello to brighten the day of residents who can't receive visitors by recording a short video and uploading it to this Facebook page.

  • Children can participate in the Maine Notes for Seniors initiative by writing notes, uploading a drawing, or sending a short video to residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 

  • Take care of your mental health (and offer resources and suggestions to your loved ones) while social distancing. 

  • Brainstorm ideas for maintaining regular activities while isolating like playing bingo by using call lights, conducting an exercise class via video chat, or playing individual games like bowling in the hallway.

    • Visit the National Certification Council for Activity Professional's COVID-19 webpage and watch LinkedSenior's recent webinar for more ideas.

  • Encourage facilities to boost staff numbers to increase one-on-one time with residents.

  • Set up a video chat or live stream where residents and family members can share best practices for communicating, keeping active and self-care strategies.

  • Use the facility's internal TV channel to communicate information and broadcast entertainment.

  • If family members do resident laundry or deliver food, set up a drive-through system to exchange items without needing to enter the building.

  • Think of creative ways to bring entertainers into the facility, like:

    • If many residents have outward-facing windows, ask local musicians to perform outdoors.

    • Use the intercom system to play music or conduct sing-a-longs.

    • Video chat with local performers or friends, family members, and staff who have hidden talents.

  • Discover new books, audio books and magazines to read, and make use of free online resources to access them, like the app, Libby.

  • Utilize free online resources like performances from The Metropolitan OperaParis OperaPhilharmonie BerlinBroadway performers and more.

  • Visit world-famous museums or libraries (Library of CongressUN World Digital Library) virtually.

  • Stay connected to the outside world by watching webcams from all over the world, including zoos, volcanoes, the International Space Station, and more.

  • Live stream church services.


Show us how you are sharing #LoveFromADistance!

Residents, family members and friends are invited to post photos and share tips on how they're staying connected to their loved ones during the pandemic.

Use #LoveFromADistance and tag us on Facebook: @theconsumervoice and Twitter: @ConsumerVoices

If you are not on social media and would like to participate, email info@theconsumervoice.org and include a completed photo release form for all those who appear in the photo.

See How Others Are Showing #LoveFromADistance

See How Others Are Showing #LoveFromADistance




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Additional Resources

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