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COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities: Information for Residents and Families

The spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in long-term care facilities has been challenging and frightening for residents and their family members.  Here you will find the latest information about the impact of COVID-19, changes to facility requirements, and recommendations for advocating for yourself or your loved one. 

Consumer Voice Resources  Visitation in Long-Term Care Facilities  COVID-19 Vaccine

Other Resources  Tips to Stay Connected  Getting Help/Taking Action

Share Your Story  COVID-19 Policy & Advocacy Page   

Consumer Voice Resources for Residents and Families

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.

Making the Case for Compassionate Care (12/11/2020) - Information on what the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) considers a compassionate care visit, what makes a compassionate care visit special and different from other visits, and when a resident can receive compassionate care visits, and further information on visitation.

Holiday Visits and COVID-19 (12/1/2020)

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 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.  The series also includes specific trainings for facility administrators and direct care staff.

Family Advocacy for Nursing Home Residents During COVID-19

Family Council Advocacy During COVID-19

Taking Care of You: Tips for Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities

Taking Care of You: Tips for Family Caregivers

Recommendations to Allow Nursing Home Residents to Have Increased In-Person Contact with Family and Friends During the COVID-19 Pandemic (9/4/20)

Initial Recommendations to Address Resident Isolation and Decline by Allowing Residents to Have Increased In-Person Contact with Family Members and Friends (8/20/20)

Podcast Episode: Staying Connected from a Distance to People Living in Long-Term Care (7/30/2020)

Podcast Episode: Staying Connected from a Distance to People Living in Long-Term Care (7/30/2020)

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in families unable to visit their loved ones living in long-term care facilities. For many residents and families, particularly some living with dementia, virtual forms of communication, such as video conferencing or phone calls have not been successful. How can families successfully communicate with their loved ones with dementia from a distance? How can staff be better equipped to understand the needs of the individual to provide better care, particularly as efforts are being made to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep residents and staff safe? 

During this discussion with Kim Grier, a leading voice in the field of dementia care and managing director of Grier Dementia Training, we will address these questions and other issues for staying connected from a distance with people living with dementia in long-term care facilities.

Find materials mentioned in this discussion here.


Webinar: Family Advocacy for Residents during COVID (6/18/2020)

Webinar: Family Advocacy for Residents during COVID (6/18/2020)

Webinar slides


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

COVID-19 has raised a lot of different issues for residents and families.  Consumer Voice has collected Frequently Asked Questions with answers.  Additional questions can be directed to us by emailing info@theconsumervoice.org

What Residents and Families Need to Know: A Fact Sheet

Resident Advocate newsletter, April 2020

State COVID-19 Nursing Home Policies

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

Share Your Story: Tell us about your, or your loved one's, experiences with your long-term care facility during COVID-19.

Visitation in Long-Term Care Facilities


Residents of long-term care have been subject to strict visitation policies for months since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.  These policies have had a significant effect on the health and well-being of residents. 

Find information and resources on our Visitation Information Page about the latest federal guidance on visitation, things to look for as visitors begin to be permitted into facilities, voting resources, and how to advocate for long-term care residents.

Have you resumed visiting your loved one in a long-term care facility?  Share your experience by filling out our survey.

Other Resources

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

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




Getting Help/Taking Action

I’m worried about my family member/friend living in a long-term care facility. What can I do?

  • Share your concerns with the facility staff and administration. Ask what they are doing to protect residents and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Contact your long-term care ombudsman for help. Ombudsmen are advocates for residents and can help resolve concerns. Find the ombudsman program that covers your facility.

  • File a complaint with the state survey agency. During the COVID-19 crisis, the agency is focusing only on complaints related to infection control or ‘Immediate Jeopardy,’ which are complaints that may cause or have caused serious harm, injury, impairment or death. You should file a complaint even if you don’t think it is immediate jeopardy so it is still entered into the system. The federal government will be issuing guidance about how these complaints will be handled. Find your state survey agency.

Other Actions you can take include:

  • Contacting the policy leaders for your state – Federal or State Legislators, Governor – and asking them to prioritize nursing homes during this crisis and ensure that residents are protected.

  • Sharing your story. Telling your legislators or Governor. Sharing with the media. Sending your story to the Consumer Voice at info@theconsumervoice.org.

  • Joining Consumer Voice as a member and signing up for our Action Network. Members have access to special programming, and discounts on Consumer Voice materials and training. Learn more about Consumer Voice membership.

For more information and resources about COVID-19 and long-term care facilities, visit Consumer Voice's