- Address current and systemic challenges at nursing homes, by Senator Rachel May. Published, Albany Times Union, May 19, 2020 Sen. May op-ed
- “Ensuring that residents of nursing homes and assisted living centers have regular and open contact with ombudsmen to resolve issues and provide a voice to those who feel overwhelmed is crucial to ensuring their quality of life,” DiNapoli said. “The Office for the Aging needs to improve access to these important services for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.” NYS Comptroller’s audit of the long term care ombudsman program (LTCOP)
- Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services: Nursing homes have been severely impacted by COVID-19, with outbreaks causing high rates of infection, morbidity, and mortality. The vulnerable nature of the nursing home population combined with the inherent risks of congregate living in a healthcare setting, requires aggressive efforts to limit COVID-19 exposure and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within nursing homes. Recommendations for State and local officials for Nursing home re-opening to visitors during the pandemic.
- The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care Fact Sheet: COVID-19 AND NURSING HOMES What Residents and Family Need to Know
- CARES Act provides funding for LTCOP. NYS receives $1,172,768 for the State Long-term Care Ombudsman program “to provide consumer advocacy services for residents of long-term care facilities across the country. Restrictions on visitation have significantly increased demand for ombudsman services, as families seek assistance in ensuring the well-being of their loved ones. Ombudsman programs will seek to expand their virtual presence to residents and their families, and continue to promote the health, safety welfare, and rights of residents in the context of COVID-19. This funding will give Ombudsman programs the flexibility to hire additional staff and purchase additional technology, associated hardware, and personal protective equipment once in-person visits resume.”
- COVID-19 specific use of funds for consideration; Purchase of equipment and associated technologies that will allow for remote work and enhance Ombudsman presence in facilities while they cannot physically visit during to COVID crisis. o This may include reimbursement of expenses related to remote work; such as: purchase of laptops, smart phones, electronic tablets, iPads and similar products including: – Software to facilitate video conferencing and virtual meetings; – Purchase of hardware and software to develop equipment lending libraries to facilitate resident complaint handling and development of virtual resident and family councils. o Costs associated with community outreach including, advertising, postage, printing of brochures and similar educational materials. o Paying for staff extended hours, or hiring of additional staff, including associated personnel costs. Note: this funding is time-limited. o Training costs related to COVID-19 including additional costs associated with advertising, recruiting, certifying or providing continuing education (both remote and in-person) to current and prospective representatives of the Office. o Funds for travel once personal visits to facilities resume. o Acquiring personal protection equipment and supplies for program use, as appropriate, once inperson visits resume.
- Ombudsman presence was associated with a 0.2 increase in the number of deficiencies and 2.2-point increase in deficiency score. These correspond to a 3.9% and 5.9% increase, respectively. On a percentage basis, the largest effects were found for quality of life and administration deficiencies.
(Journal of the American Medical Directors Association Volume 20, Issue 10, October 2019, Pages 1325-1330.)
- GAO May 20, 2020 report describes the prevalence of infection prevention and control deficiencies in nursing homes prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Loneliness Linked to Serious Health Problems and Death Among Elderly, Researchers Find Social Factors Play Major Role in Older Adults’ Health
- Human Rights Watch, March 20, 2020 No visitors: studies have shown that when a resident does not have a family, friend, partner visiting, they get lesser care
- Since 2016, the federal government has required nursing homes to establish an emergency preparedness plan, including preparing for disease and virus. Providers across the country strongly objected but the requirement went into effect. However, many homes have not complied. The requirements mandate an emergency plan, based on a risk assessment that utilizes an all hazards approach, policies and procedures, a communication plan, and a training program.