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“When we talked to the facility about ensuring that she had adequate wound care as well as someone to sit with her, just twice a day and spend 25 minutes feeding her, the response was we don’t have time for that. And I think that is the true story of what we’re seeing, which is facilities may be well-meaning who are very busy, but without proper oversight, we are seeing a significant decline in care and quality of life for residents.”

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“Witnessing firsthand that older adults living in skilled nursing facilities and assisted living programs can feel isolated, the Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa and Solano expanded its program to include friendly visiting and calling. Volunteers have regular phone visits and, once safe, regular in-person visits with residents, creating bonds of friendship and connectedness.”

Thank you to Elaine Clarke, and the Daily Republic for sharing more about our new program, Friendly Visiting and Telephone Reassurance. If you know someone who would benefit from building connections, or if you would like to volunteer with us, please visit empoweredaging.org/friendly-visiting.

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“The wide-ranging discussion kept returning to nursing home workers. Many are women of color who are poorly paid with little to no health benefits. To make ends meet, staff often work at multiple facilities, increasing the chances of the virus spreading. Longer term, a workforce shortage in #nursinghomes is projected to worsen without major reforms.”

Thank you, to our Executive Director, Nicole Howell, for speaking out and highlighting how we need to not only boost the pay of our long-term care facility workers but understand there are many other ways the workforce can be supported, especially given the prevalence of COVID-19 in our nursing homes today.

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“’The reason why [registered] nurses are important is that they set a standard,’ says Nicole Howell, executive director of Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa, Solano and Alameda in Northern California, which represents the interests of care home residents. ‘It’s about leadership.’” Thank you to the Christian Science Monitor for including our Executive Director in your coverage of nursing home response to COVID.

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“Witnesses speaking before the subcommittee for the House Committee on Ways and Means sought to cast blame as well, but also offered recommendations to prevent further harm to residents and staff. More than 50,000 people in the U.S. have died in connection with long-term care facilities since the start of the pandemic, according to the Wall Street Journal.” Read more coverage on the Health Subcommittee Hearing.

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Thank you, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, for sharing coverage of the House Health Subcommittee hearing! Each testimony was critical to examine the impact of COVID-19 on long-term care residents and facilities and where we go from here. Congratulations, Nicole!

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“Nicole Howell, executive director for Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa Inc., said ‘COVID-19 attacks vulnerable citizens through holes in U.S. safety net services.’” Read more from ThinkAdvisor on paying for long-term care, the impacts of COVID-19 more from the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee supporting the argument.

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Thank you, to the Mercury News for writing this story featuring our Executive Director Nicole Howell, and amplifying the voices of our senior community. The impacts of this pandemic have forever changed long-term care and the elder care industry. We will continue to fight for older adults everywhere and speak out on the systemic and policy changes that need to happen now. Read More >> 

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These numbers are alarming! As our Executive Director, Nicole Howell, mentions in the article – there is an overwhelming need to improve regulation and oversight in skilled nursing facilities as this pandemic continues to impact our seniors and care staff. Find out more.

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NBC Bay Area News Alert: Nursing Homes and the Coronavirus Outbreak As our Executive Director discussed in this interview, facilities are taking the outbreak seriously, but we agree this is a hardship for families, staff, and residents. Facilities should work with residents to find creative ways to maintain connections with the outside community via Skype, zoom, facetime, phone, etc. Watch this interview for more.

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NBC Bay Area Investigative Report: As we all know, our seniors and elderly are most at risk for contracting COVID-19 and many are isolated in long-term care facilities throughout the state. While stricter visitation policies are in place there are still things residents and families can do to maintain connection and ensure a loved one is receiving the care they need. Watch this video now!

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We know that seniors and older dependent adults have been struggling since the rapid outbreak of COVID-19, but the bigger picture isn’t clear. Thank you to The Independent for covering Senator Glazer’s Town Hall. Our Executive Director, Nicole Howell, among other panelists, shares some very interesting insights into what’s actually going on in our senior communities today.

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It’s so exciting to see the support for our elder community and the care staff working hard to keep them safe and protected. Thank you, NBC Bay Area, for joining us at the PPE distribution for RCFEs and ARFs in Contra Costa County. We appreciate your support!

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If we thought that the impacts on our long-term care patients from COVID-19 were simply social isolation, we need to think again. With the threat being so severe, state regulators and patient advocates are now no longer allowed to visit either. As our Executive Director state in this article, we need the staff and residents alike to think we can and will arrive at any time. This further isolation calls for even more oversight and stronger plans in place to keep our seniors safe during this very challenging time. We can’t let patient care and needs fall through the cracks.

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