Coronavirus and Long Term Care

Hello Friends,

As we continue to learn more about Coronavirus or COVID-19, I wanted to reach out to residents, families, ombudsmen, volunteers and friends. This special edition email contains links and information you may find helpful.

The CDC strategies in the article below prompted several comments and questions from ombudsmen. For example:

From an ombudsman perspective, it is essential for residents, their families, and facility employees to be informed. We recommend that facilities provide information, in plain language, about how the facility will work to protect residents. Are facilities meeting with residents, sending letters to families, and posting information near facility entrances?

Resident and Family Councils may be willing to invite facility staff to present information about virus protection/response and infection control at a council meeting. Are facility staff asking councils for permission to come to council meetings and share information?

Are facilities encouraging sick employees to stay home? How has the facility prepared for high percentages of staff calling in sick?

How are residents and employees being monitored for symptoms? What facility staff are qualified to monitor respiratory symptoms? Will the medical director and other physicians serving the facility make extra visits during concerns about the COVID-19 virus?

If a resident exhibits symptoms what are the steps to getting that resident treatment? Will residents generally be hospitalized or will treatment and isolation be provided in the nursing facility?

Is someone checking to make sure there is plenty of soap and towels at all sinks in the long-term care facility and hand sanitize in and outside of rooms? Who is responsible for stocking hand washing supplies and how often do they check supplies?

Is someone instructing staff on hand washing and are they confirming that the staff are regularly washing hands? Who is responsible for this and how often are they teaching and monitoring hand washing?

How are residents being helped with hand washing?

It is time to determine which staff members have THE RIGHT STUFF. Who on staff is particularly dedicated and interested in caring for residents with the virus? Residents need compassionate and competent caregivers. Facilities should plan to educate and support caregivers assigned to residents with the virus.

Are there masks, gowns and other protective personal equipment (PPE) available? Who should use these items and when?

What questions do you have?  Do you have examples of facility strategies and communication? Call us at 859-277-9215 or email me at

Sherry Culp
KY State LTC Ombudsman

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