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April 4, 2017

Two New Briefs on Visitation Rights and Rehabilitation Services

Consumer Voice, along with the Center for Medicare Advocacy and Justice in Aging, has released two new issue briefs in their issue brief series, "A Closer Look at the Revised Nursing Facility Regulations."  

Visitation Rights - This brief explains changes in visitation rights including the right to receive visitors, written policies and procedures, notice requirements, and visitation privileges.  The revised nursing facility regulations affirm the rights of residents to receive visitors of their choosing at the time of their choosing, and require the facility to provide immediate access to the resident in accordance with the regulations.

Rehabilitation Services - This brief covers how the substantive requirements for specialized rehabilitative services are largely unchanged from the prior version of the regulations, with the exception of "respiratory therapy," which is added to the list of services that a facility must provide to its residents who need them.  In responding to a question regarding whether respiratory therapy would include ventilator care, CMS emphasized that a nursing facility is obligated to meet residents' needs.

Read the other issue briefs in the series here.

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Participate in the 2017 Resident's Voice Challenge

Creative writing and artistic expression are meaningful and compelling ways to highlight the importance of residents’ rights and how these rights can be carried out in all long-term care settings.   

For this year’s Resident’s Voice Challenge, residents and long-term care consumers are encouraged to pick up their pens, dust off their type writers or use a computer to display their writing or artistic skills by submitting essays, poems, artwork, drawings, or videos related to the theme for Residents' Rights Month 2017 "It’s All About Me: My Life, My Care, My Choices."

We want to hear from residents and individuals receiving long-term care and services on the following questions:

  1. What are the kinds of choices you should be able to make in your daily lives?
  2. What factors contribute to the quality of life in your nursing home (or in your care at home)?
  3. What do you think it will take to bring about good quality care in nursing homes?
    Find more information on submission criteria here.
This year, we are particularly looking for video entries.  Some video entries will be selected to be posted on our website homepage, Facebook or Twitter.  Those selected to be featured on our homepage will be notified.  For more information on how to send us a video submission, click here.

Mail or Email Submissions to:

Consumer Voice
Attn: Resident’s Voice Submission
1001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite. 632
Washington DC 20036


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Revised Federal Nursing Home Regulations Are Safe from Repeal

As many of you know, the revised nursing facility regulations were subject to repeal under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).  However, the deadline for introducing resolutions of disapproval under the CRA passed on Thursday, March 30.  Since no resolution had been introduced to repeal the revised nursing facility regulations by the deadline, they are safe from repeal.

These vital regulations increase quality of care and quality of life for nursing home residents by requiring:

  • greater emphasis on a resident's individual needs and preferences
  • prompt development of a care plan
  • more comprehensive care
  • improved training
  • improved protections against abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • better protection of resident property
  • increased visitation rights
  • protection against evictions
  • a limitation of nursing facilities' ability to "dump" a resident at the hospital
Thank you all for defending these important regulations.  With these regulations, nursing home residents across the country will experience a higher quality of care and life.

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Senate Special Committee Hearing on Quality Care for Those Living with Alzheimer's

On March 29, 2017, the United States Senate Aging Committee held a hearing focused on the need to increase funding for research on Alzheimer’s disease and to prevent the National Institute of Health (NIH) cuts proposed in the new administration’s budget.  Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Chairwoman of the Aging Committee, presided over this hearing, along with Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-PA).

The hearing featured Dr. Christopher Callahan, a professor from Indiana University Center for Aging Research, and Ms. Phyllis Gallagher, a home caregiver.  Dr. Callahan explained what steps should be taken to guarantee comprehensive dementia care, including the assessment and treatment of mental health problems such as depression, and the encouragement of continued physical and mental activity.  Ms. Gallagher is a home caregiver for her husband John, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 49. As a caregiver, Ms. Gallagher emphasized the need for increased Alzheimer’s research funding so a treatment can be found for her husband.

Senator Cortez Masto (D-NV) also noted that many long-term care facilities do not know how to properly care for residents with Alzheimer’s, resulting in traumatic or dangerous experiences for residents with the disease. In the hearing, it was suggested that part of the necessary increase in funding for Alzheimer’s research should also include guidance materials for nursing staff on how to care for patients with the disease.

The current administration’s budget includes cuts of approximately $1.2 billion to the NIH, which oversees funding of research on diseases including Alzheimer’s. These cuts would drastically reduce research relating to cures and causes of the disease.  

To watch the video and read statements made by Committee members and witness, click here. The National Ombudsman Resource Center has information on caring for residents and loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia here.

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Spotlight on Resources

The Consumer Voice and the National Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) have a multitude of resources available online covering a wide range of long-term care topics.  Visit the Consumer Voice website and the NORC website to explore all the available resources.  Take a look at this week's highlighted resource:

Assessment, Care Planning, and Discharge Planning - This brief provides an overview of the revised federal nursing home regulations in these areas and highlights provisions that can be useful in advocating for improved quality of care and quality of life.

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In this Issue

Two New Briefs on Visitation Rights and Rehabilitation Services

Participate in the 2017 Resident's Voice Challenge

Revised Federal Nursing Home Regulations Are Safe from Repeal

Senate Special Committee Hearing on Quality Care for Those Living with Alzheimer's

Spotlight on Resources

Combined Federal Campaign


Thank you for your support!

Save the Date:

Consumer Voice 41st Annual Conference

November 5-8, 2017

Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel

Arlington, Virginia

Calendar of Events

Wednesday, April 5: What is ACL's Interest in HCBS Quality?, 2:00pm ET, Webinar from the Administration for Community Living

Tuesday, April 25: LTCOP Rule: Identifying and Addressing Individual Conflicts of Interest, 3:00pm ET, Part II of webinar series from NORC (Note: You only need to register once in order to attend both webinars.)

November 5-8, 2017: Consumer Voice 41st Annual Conference, Arlington, VA

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Last Week's Most Popular Post:

Friday, March 31:
The nursing home rules are safe from rollback under the Congressional Review Act!

Last Week's Most Popular Tweet:

Friday, March 31
The revised nursing home #regulations are here to stay.  Residents will benefit from increased protections and higher quality of care!

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About The Voice

The Voice is a weekly e-newsletter, published by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. If you do not wish to continue receiving this publication, please unsubscribe below. Your contributions and comments are welcome and should be sent to info@theconsumervoice.org. Copyright © 2017.

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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. Consumer Voice's mission is to represent consumers at the national level for quality long-term care, services and supports.

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