Pandemic Takes its Toll on Sleep

During the pandemic, sleep was in short order for many people. In one survey, 56 percent of U.S. adults said they have experienced more sleep disturbances—ranging from problems falling or staying asleep to having disturbing dreams or nightmares—in the past year and a half. In fact, this has been so common, the phenomenon has been given a name—COVID-somnia.

Pandemic-related sleep issues haven’t discriminated. Young and old people alike report some sleep-related problem. Long term and post-acute care centers not only need to identify and address sleep disturbances in their residents but in their staff as well.

See the full article at https://bit.ly/3DWPXE1

Vaccinations, Visitation, and Vigilance During the Delta Surge

The Delta variant is now the most common variant in the US, making up over 85% of cases, and is two to three times as contagious as prior variants. This is causing a surge in cases in communities across the US, which puts long term care facilities at risk of outbreaks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges healthcare workers to stay vigilant to prevent the spread of the virus and protect staff and residents in long term care facilities.
The CDC recommends staff and visitors take the following steps:
  • Get vaccinated as soon as possible
  • Wear a mask even if you are vaccinated
  • Stay home if you feel ill
  • Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms

To maintain compliance with CMS’ QSO memo on visitation 20-39-NH Revised, while ensuring the safety of residents and staff, AHCA/NCAL recommends that nursing homes enact policies that “strongly encourage” (but not require) all visitors to:

  • Be vaccinated;
  • Always wear a mask during the visit; and
  • Have a negative COVID-19 test if the community spread of COVID-19 is moderate to high OR obtain a negative Point of Care test the day of or day before visitation.
Providers may also consider asking residents if they want visitors given the surge in the Delta variant and if they want any unvaccinated visitors or visitors that have not been tested. Residents can put such a requirement in place under their resident rights.
Providers should also continue to strongly encourage vaccinations among staff, using the resources provided through the #GetVaccinated campaign. AHCA/NCAL also hosted a webinar on boosting staff vaccination rates, which is now available on demand.
The CDC also provides the following web resources to help inform and educate about COVID-19, the Delta variant, and vaccination:

Request Smart Devices for Your LTC Facility

​​​LTC facilities may request two free smart devices from COVID Tech Connect, while supplies last. Founded with a mission to connect critically ill COVID-19 patients with their loved ones, COVID Tech Connect donates smart devices to hospitals and care facilities across the country. Priority will be given to those in greatest need.
Providers can also request access to use their free app, TeleHome​ a video conferencing solution for calls on any device, anywhere.

Is your facility prepared for returning families?

If all goes well, over the next few weeks there will be an increasing number of family members visiting their loved ones in the nursing home, many for the first time in a year. Along with the joy and relief of these reunions, we can expect to observe a great deal of sadness over time lost with elders. Here are some tips on how to prepare.

https://bit.ly/2NXt6De

AHCA/NCAL Updates Medicare 3-Day Stay and Benefit Period Waivers Fact Sheet and FAQs

AHCA/NCAL recently updated the COVID-19-related 3-Day Stay and Benefit-Period Waivers for Medicare Part A SNF PPS fact sheet and frequently asked questions (FAQ) resource. Key updates to the file consist of a notification that the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), which can be extended in 90-day increments, was recently extended through at least April 21, 2021. Additionally, a link to an AHCA/NCAL 45-minute webinar on these waivers and 11 new AHCA/NCAL-developed FAQs providing additional clarifications on common waiver-related questions submitted are included.
Examples of topics covered in the updated fact sheet and new FAQs include:
  • ​Will Medicare Part A cover asymptomatic beneficiaries that have a positive COVID-19 test result or have received the COVID-19 vaccine and have had a reaction?
  • Various waiver-related coverage and billing scenarios.
Providers are encouraged to review these updates and share with applicable clinical and billing staff.

Maximizing fit for cloth and medical procedure masks.

CDC conducted experiments to assess two ways of improving the fit of medical procedure masks: fitting a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask, and knotting the ear loops of a medical procedure mask and then tucking in and flattening the extra material close to the face. Each modification substantially improved source control and reduced wearer exposure.

Read more at https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7007e1.htm?s_cid=mm7007e1_e

Information to arm you against vaccine hesitancy among older adults

As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out to assisted living and independent living communities — having not reached some of those communities yet — two new surveys shed some light on feelings about vaccination among older adults, messages that motivate them to get vaccinated, and the people and places to which they expect to turn when making a decision.

Although this research was not restricted to senior living residents, findings still may prove helpful to those working in the industry, and those they serve.

Find out more at https://bit.ly/3oLQAaS