The article below is a top story from this week's ACTION newsletter—Care Providers of Minnesota's weekly newsletter for members. The newsletter focuses on current legislative issues, regulations, long-term care trends, and other Association news. Each Thursday evening, it is delivered to your inbox. To sign up for ACTION, contact Lisa Foss Olson (952-851-2483). To learn more about membership, visit our Become a Member page.
OOLTC resuming in-person visits
By Patti Cullen, CAE | January 15, 2021 | All members
On March 17, 2020, the Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care (OOLTC) gave notice they would discontinue in-person visits temporarily in long-term care facilities due to COVID-19. Since this time, regional ombudsmen (RO) staff moved from a virtual presence to outdoor/window visits to provide advocacy services. Cheryl Hennen, the state’s LTC Ombudsman, sent the following note last week to announce the resumption of in-person visits:
The OOLTC works to improve the quality of life and quality of care of Minnesota citizens residing in nursing homes, assisted living communities, and other adult residential care facilities. As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak continues to evolve I need to consider modifying long-term care ombudsmen advocacy services.
Patti Cullen, CAE | President/CEO | firstname.lastname@example.org | 952-851-2487
Our role as Long Term Care Ombudsmen is to advocate for the health, safety, welfare, and rights of residents living in long term care facilities. Under my leadership the OOLTC has developed guidance for RO’s to resume safe in-person visits. Paid RO’s will resume in-person visits effective January 11, 2021 to long-term care settings under our scope of authority in accordance with this guidance. The guidance is subject to change as new guidance or orders are released by the CDC, CMS, MDH, or any other related authorities.
The RO’s must comply with the guidance, proof of a COVID test negative, etc…As we begin to resume in-person visits, all RO’s are conducting regular COVID testing and must complete a written screening prior to entering a facility. Training videos also must be viewed. PPE has been issued.
It is important to be mindful that our policy includes provisions that in-person visits may not be practical at every long term care facility due to the current status of COVID-19 in the building or with every resident as some are being quarantined or isolated in COVID-19 units/rooms. RO’s are instructed to arrange visits in collaboration with the long-term care facility to ensure the best possible visit for residents. The RO should be aware of the policy of each facility they are visiting. The RO may request a copy of the facility written policy.
The Certified Volunteer Ombudsmen staff remain in temporary suspension status.
I sincerely respect facility staff may be under stress and strain to serve residents and comply with many new provisions due to COVID-19. My hope is our re-entry will be more of a welcome than not because of our dedication to address residents’ questions/concerns. I value the committed working relationship with you and all facility staff.