The White House’s Coronavirus Commission on Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes released an extensive report reviewing lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and making recommendations to improve safety in nursing homes related to infection control. The report sets forth dozens of potential “action steps” for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and other federal and state agencies to take to foster better infection control involving: COVID-19 testingproviding PPE and training staff to use itupdating resident visitation and cohorting policies to be more sensitive to the balance between safety and quality of life; andsupporting staff/caregivers.
On September 17th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a memo to the states, restoring visitation in nursing homes. CMS is requiring facilities to permit visitation whenever a facility has had no new COVID outbreaks for 14 days and the community positivity rate is less than 10%. Facilities required to permit visitation are encouraged to have outdoor visitation, weather permitting, but are also required to accommodate indoor visitation, including in resident rooms, when outdoor visits are unavailable.
Please help support SB 1207 (Jackson) by urging Governor Newsom to sign it. This critical bill codifies federal standards that require skilled nursing facilities to have an alternative source of power to protect resident health and safety and maintain safe temperatures for 96 hours during any type of power outage. CANHR and Long Term Care Ombudsman Services of San Luis Obispo County are co-sponsoring SB 1207.The Legislature gave final passage to SB 1207 on August 31 and sent it to the Governor for his signature.
CANHR has analyzed the twenty-five biggest COVID-19 outbreaks in California nursing homes and found that they have lower staffing and quality of care measures than the state averages. This is consistent with recent studies demonstrating a nursing home’s historical performance makes a difference when it comes to the extent of COVID outbreaks. Quality matters now more than ever in long term care.
Without question, the pandemic has been extraordinarily cruel to California nursing home residents. Over 4,000 residents have suffered and died alone from COVID-19, tens of thousands have been infected and residents have been locked away from their loved ones for nearly six months. Making matters worse, the state agency charged with protecting them – the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) – has turned its back on residents time and time again.
On August 25, the California Department of Public Health (DPH) issued All Facilities Letter 20-22.4 outlining some significant changes to the State’s ever-evolving guidance relating to visiting nursing homes and other health facilities during the COVID pandemic. The AFL makes clear that visitation restrictions cannot be absolute. Facilities may not bar any of the following: Visits by Ombudsmen: Facilities must permit ombudsmen in the facility.
The Judicial Council of California voted to end the moratorium on evictions on September 1st, 2020. Meaning that courts will be reopening and assisted living facilities and nursing homes may resume issuing unlawful detainers. If you or a loved one is facing an RCFE or SNF eviction please contact CANHR. For more information on the vote please click the following link: https://newsroom.courts.ca.gov/news/judicial-council-votes-to-end-temporary-emergency-rules-on-evictions-foreclosures-sept-1
The notoriously mismanaged California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is back in the news again for all of the wrong reasons. Not only has the Department now acknowledged that it has failed to regularly test for COVID-19 the inspectors surveying nursing facilities with outbreaks of the virus, but it has embarked upon a sweeping plan to undermine the independence and reliability of its own inspection program at a time when nursing home residents need rigorous enforcement most.
Outdoor visitation is now required in California nursing homes but many facilities have not gotten the memo. Here is a sample letter to use to distribute the memo and get outdoor visits for nursing home residents.
Two new studies have found a close relationship between RN staffing and COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths in nursing homes. The first study reviewed reported COVID-19 infections in California through May 4 and identified three factors associated with increased risk of COVID-19 in nursing homes: higher numbers of past health deficiencies, larger facilities with more residents, and lower federal 5-star ratings.