This year has been challenging for all of us, and we know that as our volunteers, being unable to go into your long-term care community has been difficult. Many of you have been out for over a year, and we know that you have questions about going back in. To make the transition easier, we will try to keep all important updates and information here.
- Do all volunteers need to get the vaccine?
As of now, the state is not requiring ombudsmen to get the vaccine. We do however highly encourage all of our volunteers to get vaccinated. If you have been vaccinated or when you get vaccinated, please send a copy of your white vaccination card to Libby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What PPE do I need to use, and do I need to provide my own?
As of now, all ombudsmen are required to wear a mask when they visit. VOYCE will provide any PPE that you need. Contact Libby at email@example.com or your ROC to find out how you can get your bag of PPE. We would like you to use the masks that we provide, even if you have your own.
- What if my home doesn’t want me back in?
If you are receiving resistance as you go back in, let your ROC know.
- What will my visits look like now? Will I still be able to visit in resident rooms? What can I expect?
We don’t really know. Every home will likely be a little different, with its own policies and layout for visits. That being said, the state has some ombudsman visitation protocol that you should follow when you visit. In addition to this protocol, you should communicate with your facility to discuss their specific policies. If you still have questions, reach out to your ROC.
County Positivity Rates
You cannot visit if your long-term care community is in a red county and the long-term care community has a less than 70% vaccination rate. Each week we receive updated positivity rates. We will post these updates here. In addition, we will email all of our volunteers this data along with the most recent vaccination rates for the long-term care communities that VOYCE serves, so volunteers will have the updated numbers. If you have more questions, please reach out to your Regional Ombudsman Coordinator.
The following counties that VOYCE serves are now red counties:
- Adair County
- Jefferson County
- Franklin County
- Lincoln County
- Marion County
- Pike County
- St. Charles County
- St. Louis County
- Warren County
You can also read the guidance itself below:
Ombudsman Visitation Protocol
Read the Missouri Long-Term Care Ombudsman Protocol for In-Person Visits below.
Some important takeaways from this protocol are:
- Ombudsmen should not visit a facility with a known positive COVID-19 case.
- To prepare for a visit, you should do the following:
- Call the facility prior to visiting to verify the facility’s outbreak status.
- Evaluate personal health for symptoms of sickness, including monitoring temperature. If sick, do not visit.
- Review guidance on the use of face masks, other PPE, and basic infection control practices.
- If you know that you have been in contact with a positive case or suspected case or if you are having symptoms, you should inform your ROC and suspend visits until evaluation and all recommendations have been completed.
- Facilities can (and should) screen all visitors, including ombudsmen. They should deny entrance to anyone experiencing symptoms or those who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
- If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 within 14-days of a visit, you should inform your ROC and the facility.
- You are not required to show vaccination status or be tested before entering the facility.
- When entering the facility:
- Put on a disposable medical mask. If there is more than one level of care, change the medical mask upon entry into each level of care (VOYCE will provide PPE).
- Complete COVID-19 screening with facility staff.
- Only bring necessary items with you into the facility.
- Wipe down items brought into the facility with a disinfectant wipe before and after visits.
- Use proper hand hygiene, either hand sanitizer or hand washing for at least 20 seconds, before and after entry into each facility and each resident room.
- Maintain 6 feet distance from staff and residents.
- Use your own pen for documentation. Do not set pen or paper on surfaces at the facility.
- Do not sit on beds or chairs and avoid contact with surfaces.
- Place your business card, pamphlets, and other info on a hard surface instead of in the resident’s hand.
- When exiting:
- Remove and dispose of the medical mask and complete appropriate hand hygiene.
PPE Use and Hand Hygiene
Read instructions on how to wear a surgical mask and practice appropriate hand hygiene below.
Did you miss the refresher training or just want to watch it again? Find our recording and a copy of the slides below!
Still Have Questions?
If you still have questions or need clarification, reach out to your ROC!