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