The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman and the California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Association have developed a phased re-entry plan for on-site ombudsman visits to skilled-nursing facilities. The plan was developed in association with recently updated guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which requires facilities to permit the ombudsman to enter long-term care facilities, regardless of whether there is a COVID-19 outbreak.
The goal of the re-entry plan is to resume in-person advocacy activities safely, thoughtfully, and gradually. During the initial phase of the plan, on-site visits will be scheduled on a limited and prioritized basis. They will be focused on investigations that cannot be conducted by virtual communications and serious physical or sexual abuse and neglect complaints. Prior to any on-site visits, ombudsman staff will complete competency training in infection control procedures and personal protective equipment use and are subject to screening for fever and symptoms. Additionally, local long-term care ombudsman programs are working to align testing requirements with skilled-nursing facilities in their area.
Skilled-nursing facilities are encouraged to contact their local long-term care ombudsman office for additional information, and to consider inviting the ombudsman staff to visit their facility.