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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

April 23, 2013

Former Consumer Voice Director of Policy Janet Wells Submits Comments to CMS Regarding Deadline for SNFs to Install Sprinklers

On Monday, April 8th, Janet Wells, former Director of Policy for the Consumer Voice, submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the agency’s decision to waive the August 13th, 2013 deadline for skilled nursing facilities to install automatic sprinklers. These comments - which the Consumer Voice was pleased to support alongside the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), the Legal Aid Justice Center, and the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC) – expressed opposition to CMS’s decision to allow facilities an additional two to three years to meet this federal regulation. It has been ten years since the nursing home fires in Hartford, CT and Nashville, TN that resulted in the deaths of 31 residents, yet federal fire safety standards for skilled nursing facilities continue to remain inadequate. The decision of CMS to further postpone the federal requirement for automatic sprinklers within facilities further jeopardizes resident safety.

 Ms. Wells’ comments, which can be read here, also include recommendations for CMS to cite and sanction facilities that do not meet the previously established August 13th, 2013 deadline and for CMS to require facilities that do not meet the automatic sprinkler requirement to post public notice of this noncompliance in a prominent place. We will be certain to inform our network should CMS respond to these comments.

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Advocates in Connecticut Work to Pass Legislation on Retaliation

Advocates and residents in Connecticut - including Brian Capshaw, Consumer Voice Leadership Council member and an active participant in Connecticut’s Statewide Coalition of Presidents of Resident Councils, as well as State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Nancy Schaffer - are working to pass legislation in the state that would educate nursing home employees about the common fear of retaliation among residents. This legislation, Senate Bill 519 (which can be read here), would mandate nursing home employees and managers in Connecticut to participate in annual training to raise awareness of residents’ fear of retaliation.

 Residents often fear they will be subject to retaliation from nursing home staff if they complain about instances of poor care, poor treatment or mistakes regarding their care. According to Brian Capshaw, this fear is “a bigger problem than people think” and “there’s lots of little things that can make a resident kind of fearful of the person taking care of them.” Click here to read a more detailed story concerning this issue and the proposed legislation that was published in the Connecticut Mirror last week.

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Consumer Voice Initiative, California Consumers for Quality Care, No Matter Where, Releases New Report on Nursing Home Transitions

As part of its California Consumers for Quality Care, No Matter Where initiative the Consumer Voice recently published a report entitled, Nursing Home Transitions in California. The report discusses ways in which individuals who have moved out of a nursing home believe the transition process could be improved and makes recommendations based on consumer input. To obtain information for the report, Consumer Voice staff conducted phone interviews with nursing home residents who had successfully transitioned into the community. An advisory council of California advocates assisted with the report.

California Consumers for Quality Care, No Matter Where is part of a larger Consumer Voice initiative focusing on home and community-based services in five states and nationally. To learn more about this initiative, click here.

The report identifies numerous barriers faced by consumers during the transition process, such as difficulty in hiring caregivers and not being prepared for living independently. It also describes the adjustments to living in the community experienced by individuals. The consensus of consumers interviewed for this report was that the transition process went very well, in large part due to the work of the transition coordinators. Transition coordinators were involved in every aspect of the move out of the nursing home and back into the community. Recommendations include preserving and expanding the role of the organizations handling nursing home transitions; offering peer mentoring as a paid service during and after the transition (or, in the alternative, a “buddy system”); offering individuals who are transitioning an “onsite experience” to practice living on their own prior to the day of the move; and extending the transition program beyond one year.

To read the full report, click here.

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Recording and Materials Now Available from Consumer Voice's Free Webinar on Consumer-Directed Home Care!

Did you miss the free webinar the Consumer Voice hosted on consumer-directed home care? Not to worry - we’ve made the recording, webinar slides and handouts available on our website! Click here to access the materials. 

 During the webinar participants learned:

  • What consumer-directed care is
  • The different models of consumer-directed care
  • What consumers need to direct their own care
  • The experience of consumers and tips for directing your own care

 Our next national training call will take place this summer – stay tuned until then!

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Still Accepting Nominations for 2013 Leadership Awards

Are you looking for a way to recognize a long-term care consumer, long-term care ombudsman, citizen advocate, or another individual for their advocacy on behalf of long-term care consumers? If so, please take advantage of this opportunity to nominate individuals for their outstanding advocacy and work for quality care, no matter where.

Based on your nominations, the Consumer Voice will recognize people who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to improving the lives of long-term care consumers.

 There are five categories in which the Consumer Voice will honor the work of a variety of individuals, including an award to recognize the advocacy work of a long-term care consumer. Visit our website for additional information about the awards and nomination process.

There are 3 easy steps to submit a nomination!

  1. Review the award categories and criteria.
  2. Complete the nomination form via SurveyMonkey.
  3. Submit a letter of recommendation.

 Individual and group members of the Consumer Voice may nominate people for an award. Awards will be presented at our 37th Annual Conference and Meeting, October 24-27, 2013, in Crystal City, Virginia.

 Nominations are due by Friday, May 31

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May 3rd Facebook First Friday: Chat Directly with the Administration on Aging!

The Consumer Voice is partnering with the Administration on Aging for May 3rd’s Facebook First Friday event! Our online chat will focus on both the theme for Older American’s Month, Unleash the Power of Age, as well as a discussion about the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. From 10:00-12:00 we’ll have a special guest with us, Louise Ryan, Ombudsman Program Specialist with the Administration on Aging. Louise will give information about the Ombudsman Program and will also take questions from Facebook First Friday participants about ombudsman and the services they provide.

To participate in the discussion on May 3rd, all you have to do is go to our Facebook page ahead of time or on Facebook First Friday and press the “like” button in the upper right of your browser (near our organization's name). If you already have a Facebook account, you can get started right away, otherwise it will prompt you to create one.

 You’ll see our questions right there on the main page. Jump in and participate! This is completely FREE and open to anyone in the public who would like to participate. We look forward to speaking with you next Friday!

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Consumer Voice Presents at DC Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program's Leadership Conference

Last week Consumer Voice staff members Sara Cirba, Associate for Advocacy and Development, and Alia Murphy, Associate for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and Policy, had the pleasure of presenting at the DC Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program’s Leadership Conference. Sara and Alia presented to forty Resident and Family Council Presidents on how to lead empowered, effective, and independent Resident and Family Councils. They spoke about why Resident and Family Councils are so important, how to foster healthy Resident and Family Councils, how to keep council members encouraged, and how to overcome obstacles councils may face. The Presidents in the room were very engaged as Sara and Alia conducted a robust question and answer session at the end of the presentation.

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Protect the Elderly from Dangerous Bed Rails

THANK YOU to those individuals and groups who have signed our petition which calls for safety standards for adult bed rails. Haven’t signed yet? Please take the time to do so today by clicking here. We have a goal of 1,000 signatures and we need your help to reach that goal!

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About The Gazette

The Gazette is a weekly e-newsletter, published by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care and the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. If you do not wish to continue receiving this publication, please unsubscribe. Your contributions and comments are welcome and should be sent to swells@theconsumervoice.org. Copyright © 2013.

The Consumer Voice is the leading national voice representing consumers in issues related to long-term care, helping to ensure that consumers are empowered to advocate for themselves. We are a primary source of information and tools for consumers, families, caregivers, advocates and ombudsmen to help ensure quality care for the individual. The Consumer Voice's mission is to represent consumers at the national level for quality long-term care, services and supports.

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National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care - 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 425 - Washington, DC 20036 - telephone: (202) 332-2275 - fax: (202) 332-2949 - info@theconsumervoice.org