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Coronavirus 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    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

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.


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

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.

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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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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