Author: Daniel Beem

Updated Guide from Justice in Aging on 25 Common Nursing Home Problems & How to Resolve Them

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Justice in Aging has updated its guide, 25 Common Nursing Home Problems—& How to Resolve Them. The revised guide includes, among other things, COVID-19 specific information, 2021 Medicare eligibility standards, and advice on how to refuse arbitration agreements under a recently revised federal regulation.

This updated version of the guide offers new information on resident and family rights regarding visitation during the pandemic, waivers and coverage flexibilities put in place during the pandemic, and updates relating to Medicare, arbitration, and other issues.  The 25 problems identified in the guide are common across the country and in all types of nursing homes. The guide gives residents, family members, friends, and other advocates the tools they need to identify and solve the problems residents most frequently face.

View the Guide.

Consumer Voice Report on Family Survey of Effect of Lockdowns on Residents

Cover of Consumer Voice Report

On March 13, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a lockdown order, banning everyone but essential personnel from entering nursing homes. As a result, nursing home residents began a months-long period of isolation – cut off from their families.

After CMS began to relax visitation rules, Consumer Voice heard from families that had met with their loved ones for the first time in over six months.  Families reported that their loved ones had suffered extreme weight loss, physical decline, mental and cognitive decline, and exhibited clear signs of neglect and abuse.  Almost invariably, residents seemed unkempt and displayed a lack of hygienic care.  Often, residents were missing personal effects.

To further understand the effects of the lockdown on residents, we created a family member survey.  Unfortunately, the responses confirmed our concerns.  Consumer Voice has produced this report summarizing the responses to the survey.  The results demonstrate that in many instances, the effects of the facility lockdown have been just as devastating as COVID-19 to nursing home residents.  The report details immediate steps that must be taken to address the neglect and suffering occurring in nursing homes, including the expansion of compassionate care visits.

Read the report: The Devastating Effect of Lockdowns on Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities During COVID-19.

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety: A Fireside Chat with CMS, CDC, and A Representative from Consumer Voice Wednesday, January 20, 2021 4:00pm ET

Join the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Consumer Voice for a fireside chat on vaccine safety. This is the fourth discussion in a special series, a part of the CMS National Nursing Home Stakeholder Call Series, aimed at addressing questions and concerns about the new COVID-19 vaccines. Each session is moderated by CMS with speakers from CDC and representatives of front line staff, providers, and consumers. 

This chat will focus on the voice of long term care residents, families, and advocates.  


  • Dr. Lee Fleisher, CMS Chief Medical Officer and Director, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CMS)
  • Dr. Amanda Cohn, Chief Medical Officer (Acting), Office of Vaccine Policy, Preparedness, and Global Health, Office of the Director (CDC)
  • Evan Shulman, Director, Division of Nursing Homes (CMS)
  • Robyn Grant, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

Preparing for the call:

Target Audience: Long term care residents, families, and advocates.
Register in advance for this webinar.
(After registering, you will receive a confirmation email)

Making the Case for Compassionate Care Visits in Long Term Care Facilities

With in-person visitation continuing to be restricted in long term care facilities due to the corona virus pandemic. One of the ways that family members may still be allowed to visit their loved ones during a facility outbreak is through compassionate care visits.

Compassionate care visits are special visits in which a family member or other visitor provides comfort, support, and/or assistance to a resident whose well-being is suffering or at risk, or who is dying. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed guidance that provides some examples of situations when compassionate care visits should be permitted. These include:

• A resident who is at the end of life.

• A resident, who was living with their family before recently being admitted to a nursing home, is struggling with the change in environment and lack of physical family support.

• A resident who is grieving after a friend or family member recently passed away.

• A resident who needs cueing and encouragement with eating or drinking, previously provided by family and/or caregiver(s), is experiencing weight loss or dehydration.

• A resident, who used to talk and interact with others, is experiencing emotional distress, seldom speaking, or crying more frequently (when the resident had rarely cried in the past).

However, these are just examples. Compassionate care visits are not limited only to these situations. There are many other circumstances that would also qualify. Facilities are directed to identify the need for such visits using a person-centered approach and by working with residents, families, resident representatives, and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

CMS does not indicate exactly when a compassionate care visit can be conducted. The agency only states that end of life and the four examples listed above meet the intent of “compassionate care situations.” This gives residents of long term care facilities and their families a great deal of flexibility in making the case for why one should receive these visits.

As such, the national consumer voice has created this handout to help individuals and families help make their case for why their needs may constitute the necessity of compassionate care visits.

Also, if you would like assistance in advocating for compassionate care visits you can also reach out to the Connecticut Long Term Care Ombudsman Program by calling Telephone: 1-866-1888

COVID-19 Vaccination Questions and Answers with CT State Ombudsman on Facebook Live 12/16/20 at 5:30pm

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Date: Wednesday 2/16/20 at 5:30pm
Location: CTLTCOP Facebook Live Page

Event Description: Please join Connecticut’s State Long Term Care Ombudsman Mairead Painter along with special guests from the department of public health and the state vaccination team to discuss and answer questions regarding the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination set to be administered to staff and residents at CT’s skilled nursing facilities.

For Event Reminder Click Link:

Otherwise Listen Live at

12/3/20 @ 11AM ET | Avoiding the Roadblocks & Potholes of Fraud: Paul Greenwood AARP FWN LIVE Tele-Town Hall Discussion

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Danger!  Avoiding the Roadblocks & Potholes of Fraud:  Paul Greenwood AARP FWN LIVE Tele-Town Hall Discussion Protect yourself, your loved ones and your community from criminals with one goal in mind – get the money!  Learn about new scams, warning signs of fraud, and prevention strategies for putting the brakes on these crimes.  Discussion moderated by AARP CT State Director, Nora Duncan, featuring Paul Greenwood, former San Diego County Prosecutor and Mark Solomon, 1st VP, International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators. 

12/3/20 @ 11AM ET / Listen Live: CT, or call 1-866-641-6908

Dept of Public Health and Dept of Aging and Disability Services Joint Letter Regarding Holiday Visits and COVID-19

As the holiday season approaches, this is traditionally a time when families travel to see each other and gather in celebration, especially with relatives in long-term care communities. As many of you plan for your holiday gatherings, please review this joint letter from the Department of Public Health and the Department of Aging and Disability Services which highlights the current guidance and reviews the potential risks so that you can make an informed decision about how you can celebrate with your loved one.

Link to Joint Letter: Click Here

Providing Help, Restoring Hope: The U.S. Department of Justice National Elder Fraud Hotline Webinar

Thursday, December 10, 2020 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Financial exploitation and scams aimed at older adults result in the loss of billions of dollars every year. These crimes often go unreported because victims are scared, embarrassed, or don’t know who to call. The U.S. Department of Justice National Elder Fraud Hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, provides services to adults age 60 and older who experience fraud and exploitation to help them report the crime and access appropriate resources. This webinar from NAPSA’s Regional Representatives Advisory Board will offer an overview of the hotline and answer frequently asked questions about the available services.


Keeley Frank, MSW, has been an advocate for older victims of crime since 2014. She serves as a National Elder Fraud Hotline Case Management Shift Supervisor where she provides resources, support, and education to hotline advocates and older victims of crime. 


November 17th | AFA’s Educating America Tour Connecticut Virtual Conference

On TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2020 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM (ET) The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is holding a free virtual educational conference as part of its Educating America Tour to connect Connecticut residents with information about Alzheimer’s disease, brain health, caregiving and advance planning. Click Here to Register, it is free and open to all!

See Agenda Below

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CMS Launches New Nursing Home Resource Center

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched the Nursing Home Resource Center, a new online platform that serves as a centralized hub of the latest information, guidance and data on nursing homes that is important to facilities, providers, residents, and their families.  Previously, individuals seeking information specific to nursing homes had to navigate several disparate webpages.  The Resource Center consolidates all nursing home information, guidance and resources into a user-friendly, one-stop-shop that is easily navigable so providers and caregivers can spend less time searching for critical answers and more time caring for residents. Moreover, the new platform contains features specific to residents and their families, ensuring they have the information needed to make empowered decisions about their healthcare.

Visit the Nursing Home Resource Center.