Sen. Griffo Urges Changes to Nursing Home Industry

February 22, 2021   05:00 p.m.
    Press Release from Senator Griffo's Office:

    Griffo urges changes to nursing home industry

    Following the recent announcement that visitation at nursing homes would
    be reestablished, state Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-I-C-Rome, today continued his
    call for needed changes and reforms to the nursing home industry that he
    believes would help residents and their families during the coronavirus
    pandemic and beyond.

    “The state Department of Health will be issuing guidance that will allow for
    direct interaction between families and residents provided appropriate
    safety measures such as masks and coronavirus tests are utilized,” Sen.
    Griffo said. “It is imperative that nursing homes accommodate this change
    and figure out ways to make it work and ensure that it works. People in
    these facilities have not only died from COVID-19 but from a failure to thrive
    and isolation as a result of the policies put in place by the Governor and his
    administration. This has to end now. There should be no more visits where
    loved ones are behind barriers and denial of daily access to visitation.”

    Besides advocating for expanded visitation since the start of the pandemic,
    Sen. Griffo also has recommended:

  • The implementation of a program that would allow families to designate
    individuals as essential caregivers who would provide essential care to
    those in residential health care facilities. Sen. Griffo has introduced a
    bill (S3879) that would residents to designate a primary, secondary
    and alternate caregiver to assist them with their non-medical needs.

  • Allowing nursing home residents or their families to install a connected
    device such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, or a more traditional
    means of monitoring, in a resident’s room. Legislation (S3821) Sen.
    Griffo has introduced would allow families to stay connected to their
    loved ones and ensure that they are receiving the proper care that they
    deserve.

  • Expanding and enhancing ombudsmen programs at nursing homes
    and other facilities.

  • The monthly personal needs allowance that individuals in nursing
    homes are allowed to keep for their own expenses should be
    increased. Sen. Griffo has continued to advocate for such a change
    and has sponsored legislation would up the existing personal needs
    allowance for individuals in nursing homes.

  • More regular, as well as random, inspections of nursing homes to
    ensure that facilities are providing proper services and essential care
    to residents.

    “COVID-19 has certainly exacerbated issues affecting residential care
    facilities, and there is no doubt that the nursing home industry needs a
    complete overhaul,” Sen. Griffo said. “My recommendations are a good
    place to start. Everything, including employee training, compensation for
    staff and hiring practices, must be reviewed to ensure that nursing home
    residents get the care they need and deserve. Additionally, we need an
    independent investigation to look into the state of our nursing homes and
    legislative hearings to discuss not just pandemic-related issues but the
    industry as a whole.”

    The state Senate is expected to consider a number of bills related to
    nursing homes this week with subjects including:

  • Requiring the publication of nursing home ratings.

  • Creating a long-term care task force.

  • Providing opportunities for volunteers to work as resident advocates
    within the long-term care ombudsman program.

  • Establishing procedures for the designation of personal caregiving
    visitors.

  • Implementing an infection inspection audit and checklist.

  • Providing information on where a list of violations and other actions
    taken against a facility can be found.

  • Including quality improvement committees and facilities’ quality
    assurance plans.

  • Establishing a direct patient care ratio reporting and rebate
    requirement for nursing homes.

  • Increasing transparency in the establishment of nursing home facilities
    and in the contractual ownership relationships of operators.

  • Requiring the Health Department to updates its regular report of
    Nursing Home and Adult Care Facility COVID Related Deaths
    Statewide to include confirmed or presumed positive cases related to
    residents who were transferred from nursing home or adult care
    facilities to a hospital and who died in a hospital retroactive to March 1,
    2020.

  • Establishing requirements for transfers, discharges and voluntary
    discharges from residential health care facilities.

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