View the newly created NJ Department of Health Long-Term Care Resources Page that provides all of the recent guidance
relating to LTC visitation, quarantine protocols, the facility outbreak list, and information about vaccination programs. View Current DOH Guidance
NEW! May 12 NJ DOH Memo on visitation, outside contractors, volunteers, and communal activities and dining. View Current Guidance
Compassionate Care Visitation – An underused tool for residents and families
The LTCO wants to make sure that residents, their families, and facility staff are aware of Compassionate Care visits, what they are, and how to access them.
Compassionate Care (CC) is a designation created by the federal government last year (and since expanded) to allow visitation for residents who are suffering physically or emotionally, even when the facility is closed to indoor visitation. Examples of where CC should be granted include: residents grieving the loss of a friend/relative; residents who need reminders or encouragement to eat/drink; residents who are losing weight; and residents who are emotionally distressed. These are just examples, and facilities must consider each request for Compassionate Care visits in a person-centered way. The facility can designate more than one visitor for CC; however, during an outbreak visitors may be asked to alternate visits. You do not have to practice social distancing during these visits. Based on our work, the LTCO believes that many residents who have lived through the COVID crisis are suffering from isolation and emotional distress and fit the definition.
If want to have Compassionate Care visits, tell the facility Social Worker or Administrator that you are seeking this designation and ask what their process is for applying. They must have a process to consider CC visits and should promptly provide you with an answer. You can show them this newsletter and also stress that designating CC visitors benefits the facility as well, as visitors provide support and care that would otherwise fall to their staff. This definition is included in both federal and New Jersey guidance on long-term care visitation that all facilities must follow.
If facility administration is not responsive to your request for CC visitation, please call our office at 1-877-582-6995 and we can advocate for you. You can also call the Department of Health hotline at 1-800-792-9770 to report it.
LTCO Memory Lane Trivia Questions
Answers: 1. Elvis Presley 2. Martin Luther King Jr. 3. Anthony Perkins 4. Cassius Clay 5. Jaws
FACE NJ's Letter Writing Campaign
FACE NJ, the organization we featured in our July newsletter, is a group of family members who came together on social media to push for more visitation for their loved ones in long-term care. FACE NJ currently has a letter writing campaign to government officials (NJ Department of Health and the Governor) urging them to make visitation more consistent and permanent in the event of another COVID surge or future public health emergency. Specifically, FACE NJ is asking the State to:
If you would like to participate, you can work with your social worker or activities staff to send letters or emails. You can also reach out to FACE NJ at email@example.com for more details or assistance. If you or your family members want to join FACE NJ, you can search Facebook for the "FACE NJ" group, click to join, and answer a few simple questions.
COVID Vaccine Mandates for Nursing Home Staff
Low staff vaccination rates continue to be a serious problem in many New Jersey nursing homes. Starting September 7th, New Jersey nursing home workers (and many other health care workers) must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or take COVID tests at least once a week. Governor Murphy announced this requirement via Executive Order 252 on August 6, 2021. The Governor has indicated if the new requirement doesn't substantially boost vaccine rates, the state may remove the testing option. President Biden has also announced that the federal government is developing an emergency regulation to require all nursing home staff to be vaccinated, or the nursing home may risk losing federal funds. The LTCO is hopeful that these new mandates will result in more safety and greater freedom for all nursing home residents.