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COVID-19 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.

Lift the Lockdown - Open Nursing Home Doors

It's been almost one year since nursing homes shut their doors on March 13, 2020. Join Consumer Voice in marking the one-year anniversary by remembering residents  whose lives have been lost, and participating in our advocacy campaign to open nursing home doors. Visit our webpage devoted to opening nursing home doors with resources, ways to take action, and to hear the stories of nursing home residents and families. Plus, information about our rally on Friday, March 12th.

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Consumer Voice Resources   Consumer Voice Webinars   COVID-19 Vaccine

State COVID-19 Nursing Home Policies   CMS, ACL Resources & Action   Tips to Stay Connected

For Residents and Families   Visitation in Long-Term Care Facilities   Additional Resources

Consumer Voice Resources

Voices from the Inside - What It's Like to Live in a Long-Term Care Facility During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Making the Case for Compassionate Care (January 2021)

Oppose Immunity for Long-Term Care Facilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Issue Brief and Statement from The Coalition for the Protection of Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities

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)

Letter to Congressional Leaders Opposing the Safe to Work Act Which Would Grant Immunity to Nursing Homes (7/31/20)

Letter to House Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy Opposing H.R. 7059 Which Would Grant Immunity to Nursing Homes (7/20/20)

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

Strengthening Families as They Reunite During Uncertain Times (10/13/2020) - On this webinar hosted by Consumer Voice and the Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and featuring speaker Dr. Susan Wehry, we discussed the principles and interventions of moving forward while supporting ourselves and our families. We talked specifically about visitation in long-term care; as facilities transition to in-person visitation, reconnection with loved ones may present challenges.

Understanding Trauma and Ensuring Person-Centered Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic Training Series (September 2020) - The National Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) released four training topics for three audiences: facility administrators, direct care staff, and family members of individuals living in long-term care facilities.  Dr. Sheri Gibson provided training on the following topics: person-centered care, trauma-informed care, compassion fatigue, and anxiety and grief in a time of COVID-19.

Nursing Home Staffing: Research Highlights Relationship Between COVID-19 and Staffing (7/17/20) - Researchers Dr. Charlene Harrington and Dr. Yue Li look carefully at the relationship between staffing and COVID-19 spread. 

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. 

COVID-19: Advocating for Nursing Home Residents Webinar Series - Joint webinars 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

  • Part XI - Recording; Slides (July 31, 2020) - Allocation of testing equipment for nursing homes; Update on nursing home staff reporting; Immunity update; Legislative update

  • Part XII - Recording; Slides (August 28, 2020) - Revised Guidance on Survey and Enforcement; CMS Interim Rules on COVID Testing; Update on Visitation

  • Part XIII - Recording; Slides (October 2, 2020) - Overview of CMS Guidance on Visitation; What the Guidance Allows and Requires; Shortfalls of the Guidance; Advocacy Strategies

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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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What are your state's 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; 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; and state's reopening and visitation policies.

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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Coronavirus Commission Report

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and The MITRE Corporation (MITRE) released the final report of the Coronavirus Commission on Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes (Commission). CMS tasked MITRE with organizing the Commission to advise the federal government on how to address the impact of the coronavirus in nursing homes and to provide recommendations for actions that CMS could take to protect residents and staff during the pandemic. The final report includes 27 recommendations and more than 100 action steps. Of the 25 Commission members, 13 endorsed the final report without reservation, 11 endorsed with reservations, and one member did not endorse.

Read the full report.  Consumer Voice Executive Director Lori Smetanka endorsed the report with reservations.  Read her statement.

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 While Social Distancing and Visitation is Limited

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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