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Pursuing Quality Long-Term Care Podcast

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Long-term care is or will be a fact of life for many of us and our loved ones as we age. We all deserve care – whether in the home or in a long-term care facility – that meets the highest of standards, enhancing quality of life and ensuring the protection of rights. Join us as we talk with national experts and advocates about strategies you can use in the pursuit of quality long-term care.

Listen to the podcast live on Facebook, Apple Podcasts, or SoundCloud.

Pursuing Quality Long-Term Care is a program of the Avoiding Drugs as Chemical Restraints Consumer Education Campaign of Consumer Voice and AARP Foundation.

Episode 17

Title: A Discussion of Residents' Rights
Guests: Lori Smetanka and Jocelyn Bogdan, Consumer Voice
Date: October 14, 2021
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In this episode we are sharing with you a discussion that was held on Facebook Live around residents' rights in nursing homes. Lori Smetanka, Consumer Voice’s Executive Director, and Jocelyn Bogdan, Program and Policy Specialist at Consumer Voice talk about what impact COVID-19 has had on residents and their exercising of rights, they also provided an overview of residents' rights that exist in federal law. 

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Episode 16

Title: Advocating for Essential Caregivers
Guest: Mary Daniel
Date: August 26, 2021
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Before COVID-19, Mary Daniel would head to the long-term care facility where her husband resided every day after work and spend the evening with him. When facilities were locked down in March, family members were not allowed in, and residents were left without many of the essential supports that family members provided. In this episode we will hear Mary’s story about how she advocated to be reunited with her husband, the national movement she founded, and talk about what we all can do to make a difference today. 

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Episode 15

Title: When Your Loved One is Labeled as a "Bad Fit:" How to Advocate for the Quality Care They Deserve
Guests: Kathy Ritchie, Family Member, and Tony Chicotel, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform
Date: August 2, 2021
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When facilities tell residents and their families that they are "not a good fit" or encourage antipsychotic medications, often families feel pressured and aren't sure how to advocate for their loved ones. In this conversation, we first hear from Kathy, a family member who went through this experience with her mother. We then speak with Tony Chicotel from California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), about steps family members can take, the specific rights nursing home residents have, and how families can work with facilities to ensure their loved one receives quality long-term care.

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Episode 14

Title: Resuming In-Person Ombudsman Visits During COVID-19: Tips for Identifying Trauma, Potential Abuse, and Supporting Residents
Guests: Dr. Laura Mosqueda, Karen Jones, and Jane Brink
Date: June 18, 2021
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In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), this webinar from the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) discussed how to identify and respond to signs of trauma and potential abuse or neglect and support residents as Ombudsman programs resume in-person visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Laura Mosqueda, a national and international expert on elder abuse and neglect, provided tips for Ombudsman programs conducting in-person visits, such as signs of trauma in response to isolation and loss during the pandemic and potential signs of abuse and neglect. She also shared recommendations for supporting residents and available resources. As an accomplished physician and researcher, Dr. Mosqueda has testified in front of Congress and has been invited to the White House several times to discuss elder justice initiatives. She has taken the lead on landmark studies to identify forensic markers of abuse and neglect and serves as a volunteer representative for the California Long-Term Care Ombudsman program.

Attendees also heard from two Ombudsman program representatives as they shared their experience resuming in-person visits and highlighted what they observed upon reentry, how they supported residents, tips for visits, lessons learned, and successful practices.

Resources: PowerPoint | Creating Your COVID-19 Person-Centered Description and COVID-19 Passport

Guests: Dr. Laura Mosqueda, Professor of Family Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of  University of Southern California (USC), Keck School of Medicine of USC operates the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA); Karen Jones, Chair, National Association of Local Long-Term Care Ombudsmen (NALLTCO), Executive Director/Program Manager Long-Term Care Ombudsman Services of San Luis Obispo County, California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program; and Jane Brink, Regional Ombudsman, Minnesota Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, Member of National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care Leadership Council, and NALLTCO Board Member

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Episode 13

Title: Using the CMS Guidance to Open Nursing Home Doors
Guests: Robyn Grant and Jocelyn Bogdan, Consumer Voice
Date: April 30, 2021
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In this conversation with Consumer Voice learn about how residents, families, and advocates can use guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to facilitate in-person visitation. While the new guidance expands visitation, many residents and families still have questions and concerns. After providing a brief overview of the CMS guidance, we discuss several of the most common issues, including strategies and tips for applying the guidance to help open nursing home doors. This conversation also covers the recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that limits when residents should be quarantined.

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Episode 12

Title: The Care of Individuals with Dementia
Guests: Jonathan Evans, MD
Date: March 31, 2021
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When the needs of residents living with dementia are met, incidences of resident stress are significantly reduced. Practicing person-centered approaches and interventions increase the likelihood that the message being communicated by the resident will be heard and addressed, leading to better outcomes and more satisfaction for the individual. Join our conversation with Dr. Jonathan Evans as we talk about caring for human beings with dementia. 

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Episode 11

Title: The Devastating Effect of Lockdowns on Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities During COVID-19
Guests: Sam Brooks and Lori Smetanka, Consumer Voice
Date: March 5, 2021
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On March 13, 2021, it will be one year since the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an order preventing everyone but essential healthcare workers from entering facilities. To date, despite some loosening of visitation restrictions, tens of thousands of residents have still not seen their families and loved ones in person. Chronic short-staffing of nursing homes that plagued facilities before the pandemic has gotten worse, with almost 1 in 5 facilities reporting staff shortages in aides. As a result, the lockdown has resulted in many residents suffering from isolation and neglect. 

In late 2020, The Consumer Voice conducted an informal survey of families that had visited with their loved ones to learn how the lockdown has impacted residents' condition. The overwhelming response was that families met residents who had experienced significant declines in their physical and mental health. In this episode of the Pursuing Quality Long-Term Care podcast, Sam Brooks and Lori Smetanka of Consumer Voice will discuss the survey results and Consumer Voice’s call to safely reopen facilities so that families can provide necessary care and support to residents.

Resources: The Devastating Effect of Lockdowns on Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities During COVID-19: A Survey of Residents’ Families

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Episode 10

Title: The Impact of Social Isolation on Nursing Home Residents During COVID-19
Guests: Anne Montgomery and Sarah Slocum, Co-Directors of Eldercare Improvement at Altarum
Date: February 19, 2021
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In March of 2020, as COVID-19 was spreading through nursing homes at alarming rates, nursing home doors were closed to outside visitors, keeping out families, friends and other members of the community. At the same time, most residents were required to stay in their rooms, doors often shut, having little contact with others. A survey of nursing home residents by Altarum provides a look at the impact of these restrictions on those living in the facilities, and the toll it has taken on their physical and emotional health. This discussion features Anne Montgomery and Sarah Slocum, Co-Directors of Eldercare Improvement at Altarum.

Resources: Altarum Report: Experiences of Nursing Home Residents During the Covid-19 Pandemic Report

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Episode 9

Title: Advocating for Resident’s Rights: About the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
Guests:  Beverley Laubert and Patty Ducayet
Date: January 29, 2021
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Residents of nursing homes have rights that are guaranteed by the federal Nursing Home Reform Law. The law requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident” and stresses individual dignity and self-determination. A person living in a long-term care facility maintains the same rights as an individual in the larger community. Under the federal Older Americans Act (OAA) every state is required to have an Ombudsman Program that addresses complaints and advocates for improvements in the long-term care system. Ombudsman programs help residents, family members, and others understand residents’ rights and support residents in exercising their rights guaranteed by law. Most nursing homes participate in Medicare and Medicaid, and therefore must meet federal requirements, including facility responsibilities and residents’ rights.

Join us for a conversation with Beverley Laubert, Ohio State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, and Patty Ducayet, Texas State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, to discuss resident rights, the role of the Ombudsman program, and how residents can advocate for their rights in their facility.

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Episode 8

Title: Finding Real Solutions for Behavioral Health Needs in Persons with Dementia
Guests: Kelly Bagby, AARP Foundation Litigation and Sue Renz, Practice Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Date: January 15, 2021
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Too often, caregivers are ill-equipped to address the needs of persons living with dementia, especially those related to behavioral health. In this episode we are sharing with you a presentation held at the 2020 Consumer Voice Virtual Conference. Listen as we explore strategies, effective treatments, and support for residents and families who often need help understanding their rights and how to get good care. The speakers of this presentation are Kelly Bagby of AARP Foundation and Sue Renz, Practice Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. 

View the PowerPoint slides mentioned in this episode.

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Episode 7

Title: Understanding Person-Centered Care
Guest:  Sonya Barsness, Gerontologist
Date: November 19, 2020
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Everyone living in a long-term care facility deserves good care that meets their needs and takes into account their likes, dislikes, preferences, and goals. But what does that mean? And how do we achieve it? Today we're talking with Sonya Barsness, a Masters-prepared Gerontologist, about a philosophy that honors the needs, preferences, and goals of elders by emphasizing choice, self-determination, relationships, purposeful living and other similar values.

Resources: About Me | My Personal Directions for Quality Living

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Episode 6

Title: What Does Family Advocacy Look Like During COVID-19?
Guest: Robyn Grant, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care
Date: November 5, 2020
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Description: Even before COVID-19, families have played a key role in advocating for their loved ones in nursing homes. Many family's jobs got harder when facilities shut down visitation in March, but even as visitation slowly opens back up, many are still struggling with how best to advocate for their family members.

Something that is important to remember is that, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, residents still retain almost all the rights they’ve always had, including and importantly their right to expect and receive quality individualized care. The right to person-centered care is more important than ever right now, but for families, ensuring that their loved ones are receiving a high level of care during the pandemic, can sometimes be difficult.

In this episode we’re talking with Robyn Grant, Director of Public Policy at Consumer Voice, about how families can advocate for their loved ones and for all residents, both on the local level and nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Episode 5

Title: What to Look for and Questions to Ask as You Resume Visits in a Long-Term Care Facility
Guest:  Steven Levin, Michael Bonamarte, Levin & Perconti
Date: October 21, 2020
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Description: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted residents of long-term care facilities and their families. In March, the federal government and most state governments ordered long-term care facilities – nursing homes and assisted living facilities – to ban all but essential healthcare workers from entering the facility.  That has meant no access to family members, friends, the long-term care ombudsman, or anyone else. Limited in-person visits are beginning in most states, marking the first time many residents and families have seen each other in more than 6 months. As you look to understand what the impact of this lock down has meant for your loved one,  listen in for suggestions of what to look for, questions to ask, and what you can do if you have concerns about your loved one’s condition.

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Episode 4

Title: Putting a Stop to Poor Care
Guest: Eden Ruiz-Lopez, Assistant Deputy Director, National Center on Elder Abuse
Date: Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 3:00pm ET
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Description: Every resident in long-term care is entitled to quality, individualized care. But what does quality care look like? What are the warning signs of poor care? What red flags should you be looking for in a facility? And what can you do when you see them? 

Join us for a conversation with Eden Ruiz-Lopez, Assistant Deputy Director at the National Center on Elder Abuse, as we discuss putting a stop to poor care and how to advocate for the quality care guaranteed to all residents under federal and state law.

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Episode 3

Title: Keeping Families Together/Bringing A Loved One Home
Guest: Julie Schoen, Co-Director National Center on Elder Abuse
Date: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 2:00pm ET
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Description:  Many families find themselves making difficult decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Some of these decisions involve substantially changing their own living arrangements. In some cases, financial necessity may lead adult children to consider moving back home with their aging parents. In other situations, families may be struggling to decide if they should bring their loved one home from a nursing home. In both situations, there is a lot to consider. Is your family ready to set the boundaries necessary to live together in a multigenerational setting? If you are bringing your loved one home from a nursing home, is your home equipped and are you able to provide the level of care required for your family member? Have you considered the financial implications?

Join our conversation with Julie Schoen, Co-Director at the National Center on Elder Abuse, as we examine factors and implications these decisions will have on your family and insight on how to plan for these situations, and what you should be considering as you move forward.

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Episode 2

Title: Staying Connected from a Distance to People Living in Long-Term Care
Guest: Kim Grier, Grier Dementia Training
Date: Thursday, July 30, 2020, 3:00pm ET
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Description: 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.

Resources: Three About Me | My Personal Directions for Quality Living | Grier Dementia Training Website

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Episode 1

Title: Avoiding Drugs as Chemical Restraints
Guest: Kelly Bagby, AARP Foundation Litigation
Date: Wednesday, July 8, 2020, 2:00pm ET
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Description: Everyone who enters a long-term care facility deserves quality, person-centered care. Too many residents, however, are being given off-label antipsychotic drugs to control challenging behaviors or for caregiver convenience. When used this way, these drugs are chemical restraints. In this discussion with Kelly Bagby of AARP Foundation Litigation we’ll talk about why the off-label use of antipsychotic drugs is a problem, your rights around medications and caregiving, and what to do if you think your loved one is being chemically restrained.

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