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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.

We will be updating this webpage all month with new information, events, and ways to take action. So check back!


  Resources   Sign the Petition   Voices from the Inside

A Rally to Lift the Lockdown - Friday, March 12th

Join Consumer Voice Friday, March 12th at 12:00pm ET  for a rally commemorating the one year anniversary of the nursing home visitation ban.  The rally will honor those we’ve lost and provide an opportunity to hear directly from residents and family members about their experiences during the lockdown.  It will include a call to action - mobilizing family members, residents of long-term care, and advocates to ask their state and federal policymakers and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to safely "open nursing home doors."

Register to Attend

All General Visitation must adhere to the following Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention:

  • Screening of all who enter the facility for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., temperature checks, questions or observations about signs or symptoms), and denial of entry of those with signs or symptoms;

  • Hand hygiene (use of alcohol-based hand rub is preferred;

  • Face covering or mask (covering mouth and nose); and

  • Social distancing at least six feet between persons.

Read the CMS Guidance here.

“I can't have anyone come see me. I don't get to see my family. I haven't seen my family in months …There's not all roses around the door. It's very difficult for us.”

Why This is Important


The Impact of Social Isolation on Nursing Home Residents During COVID-19 - Episode of Consumer Voice's podcast - Pursuing Quality Care - with Anne Montgomery and Sarah Slocum, Co-Directors of Eldercare Improvement at Altarum

Experiences of Nursing Home Residents During the Pandemic: What we learned from residents about life under Covid-19 restrictions and what we can do about it - Report from Altarum, October 2020

The Devastating Effect of Lockdowns on Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities During COVID-19 (January 2021) - Report from Consumer Voice summarizing the results of a survey of family members' experiences.

Not just COVID: Nursing home neglect deaths surge in shadows - Associated Press, November 19, 2020

We Must Reunite Nursing Home Residents with Their Loved Ones Now! - Sign the Petition

On March 13, 2021, it will be one year since state and federal officials banned visits in nursing homes. Initially put in place to protect residents from COVID-19, the visitation ban has resulted in tens of thousands of residents suffering and dying from isolation, loneliness, and poor care. It is time to stop the suffering and open the doors.

Sign the petition to call on federal and state officials to immediately:

  • Allow every resident to designate an Essential Support Person (ESP). ESPs must be allowed unrestricted access to the resident who has designated them in order to provide physical and emotional support, as well as assistance in meeting the resident's needs. ESPs should be treated as employees of the facility for infection control purposes, including routine COVID-19 testing and the wearing of PPE.
  • Allow general indoor and outdoor visitation for all residents in accordance with the CMS Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention consistent with CDC guidance. Visitation must occur in addition to resident designation of an ESP. Length and number of visits must be in accordance with a resident's needs and preferences but be at least one hour weekly. Visitation must occur regardless of the level of COVID-19 positivity in the surrounding community or in the facility.

Safe visitation and support for residents are possible through proper infection control procedures. Importantly, residents will be reunited with their loved ones after a year of being isolated alone without proper care.

Sign the Petition Now

Voices from the Inside

Life in a Nursing Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Read Judith's message.

"I noticed that so many of my neighbors, whom I really cared about, went downhill so badly that they had to be put on psychotropic medications. I actually think that some of them did worse because I understand 'lockdown,' which they're now questioning, but I feel that some of them have suffered more from some of the side effects of being locked down so tightly than the coronavirus itself. They [staff] were very careful-- no one came in my room without a mask or any of that sort of thing... The boredom ... never seeing a family member. When you're at this age and this stage of your life those things can actually have a bigger impact on your health than worrying catching the coronavirus. And if you're depressed and so on, this is going to really affect you."

“We're in our rooms now … There's two of us in here … We can sit up in a chair but there's no place to go. You're just sitting. Same place you'd be almost in your bed. It gets old.”

“… our family and friends, we haven't seen probably in seven or eight months. I don't have any family but I have a family who adopted me. And to not see them, it's bad.” 

“We lost four people this year— good friends of ours. I never even felt it would happen to them, and it’s very hard to adjust to that our friends are not here anymore … different patients would come and tell me who it was, and it was a shock because they were really close friends of mine. I cried because we were all so close.”

Voices from Family Members

Life for a Family of a Nursing Home Resident During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tweet CMS and Your Elected Officials

Tweet and message the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and your U.S. Senators and Representative! Ask them to #HaveAHeart and #OpenNursingHomeDoors. Add a photo of a loved one if you’re a family member or friend of a nursing home resident or share our graphic.

You can also add this frame to your Facebook profile pictures for the month!

How to participate: 

1. Log onto Twitter and tag CMS and your federal legislators to ask them to #HaveAHeart and #OpenNursingHomeDoors. 

2. If you have a friend or loved in a nursing home or if you are a nursing home resident: Personalize your tweet with your story (see examples) and include a photo of your friend/loved one or yourself.

3. If you don't have anyone in a nursing home, share your thoughts about what residents are experiencing (see examples).  Download and attach our #OpenNursingHomeDoors graphic to your tweet.

4. Remember to use the hashtags #OpenNursingHomeDoors and #HaveAHeart and tag CMS and your federal legislators so they will see your tweet.

Tag your Senators and RepresentativeFind your elected officials' Twitter handles.

Tag CMS (@CMSGov) and CMS Press (@CMSgovPress)

Find out who your members of Congress are.

5. Tag us! @ConsumerVoices

By using a common hashtag and tagging CMS and your representatives, our voices will be amplified!  

Don't have a Twitter account? 

1. Sign up for Twitter – it’s easy, here are instructions; or

2. On Facebook, tag us @theconsumervoice and use the same hashtags! Plus, add this frame to your Facebook profile picture. If you don't know how to add a frame, click here.

3. Visit the website of your member of Congress and send them a message.

4. Share your story with us.

Share this message with your friends and family!

Sample Tweets:  

Find your elected officials' Twitter handles here. Don't know who your Representative is? Find their name here.

Copy and paste these tweets and edit to include tags for your elected officials:

It's been almost one year! #HaveAHeart #OpenNursingHomeDoors @CMSGov @CMSgovPress @YourGovernor @YourRep @YourSenator @YourSenator @ConsumerVoices

It's been almost one year since nursing homes shut their doors on March 13, 2020. #HaveaHeart and #OpenNursingHomeDoors @CMSGov @CMSgovPress @YourGovernor @Your Senator @Your Senator @YourRep @ConsumerVoices

Nursing home residents deserve to be reunited with their families! #HaveAHeart #OpenNursingHomeDoors  @CMSGov @CMSgovPress @YourGovernor @YourRep @YourSenator @YourSenator @ConsumerVoices

People in Nursing Homes are suffering! What's happening is awful. Check out this @ConsumerVoices report:
 https://bit.ly/3q5kKXP #HaveAHeart #OpenNursingHomeDoors  @CMSGov @CMSgovPress @YourGovernor @YourRep @YourSenator @YourSenator

(Include CV image)

Or personalize your tweet like the examples below:

This is my mother, Jane. She was born in 1928 and raised four children. She hasn't hugged anyone in almost a year and hasn't met her great grandson. #HaveAHeart #OpenNursingHomeDoors @CMSGov @CMSgovPress @YourGovernor @YourRep @YourSenator @YourSenator @ConsumerVoices

(Include family member's image and change the example elected officials' handles to your own)

I haven't seen my father in 11 months. He has dementia and doesn't understand why we haven't visited. This is his picture. He's a real person and we love him. #HaveAHeart #OpenNursingHomeDoors @CMSGov @CMSgovPress @YourGovernor @YourRep @YourSenator @YourSenator @ConsumerVoices

(Include family member's image and change the example elected officials' handles to your own) 

This is a picture of my mother, Sue. She was okay when I saw her last March. Since then she's lost 20 pounds & stopped remembering our names.We're scared we'll never see her again. #HaveAHeart #OpenNursingHomeDoors  @CMSGov @CMSgovPress @YourGovernor @YourRep @YourSenator @YourSenator @ConsumerVoices

(Include family member's image and change the example elected officials' handles to your own)