The Advocate - January 2021

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January 2021

Note from the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman


I think it is probably safe to say that we are all happy to put 2020 in our rearview mirror and optimistically greet 2021.The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines give us hope that we can finally gain the upper hand on this terrible contagion and move closer to how we used to live our lives. A good many residents are looking forward to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and the possibility of being protected from the ravages of COVID-19.


Yet with the vaccine’s ray of hope, it must also be remembered that not all residents may want to receive the vaccine at this time. Residents of nursing facilities always have a choice in whether or not to receive treatment, 42 CFR § 483.10. And that right must be respected. Please be sure to have information available to give to residents and their decision makers that can provide answers to any questions they may have about the vaccine, efficacy of the vaccine, and side effects so that they may make an informed decision about receiving the vaccine.


The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman working with Renee Schulte and COVID Recovery Iowa will be distributing information aimed at helping residents of nursing facilities address issues of the impact of COVID-19 and social isolation. Watch for information of how to access these presentations coming soon.


Let’s hope that 2021 will be kinder and gentler to humankind than how 2020 treated us.


Happy New Year!

News & Resources

As mentioned in The Advocate - October 2020 COVID Recovery Iowa offers services and received a grant for free virtual counseling and assistance at this website. reminds consumers to be aware of fraud and scams regarding COVID-19 vaccines on this website. The FTC published a blog to be on the look out for vaccination scams.


Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller warns against COVID-19 PPE or cleaning surcharges. If you believe a business’s fee is unfair or hidden, contact the Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. For ways to file a complaint, click here, or call 515-281-5926 (in Des Moines area) or 888-777-4590 (outside of the Des Moines area)

Resident/Tenant Rights

Nursing facility residents received an activity booklet from our Office. This document contains the answers to the crossword puzzle and begin and end word puzzle.

Resident_Tenant Health Safety Welfare



Denver Sunset Home Activity Director Lisa Jamison created the following exercises using a twister board and other simple game pieces promoting physical activity as well as inclusion in activities.


Edgewood Convalescent Home Activity Director Sara McCool put together Balloon Polo a hallway game using pool noodles. If anyone is interested about how the game works feel free to give her a call at 563-928-6461. Additionally, Ms. McCool has had Morocco dance lines and fun stuff outside windows.


Anamosa Care Center nursing facility residents plead in a new movement to #DoItForMe and get vaccinated in this video.


Tenants at Arlin Falck AL in Decorah are connecting to students through the joy of music. Kindergarten through fourth grade students students recorded videos and sent them to the tenants. The tenants in turn sent videos and shared music from their childhood back to the students in this article.  


Some of the Rose Haven residents in Marengo received build-a-bears with the voices of the residents' family members inside in this article. This was a donation from a former resident. 


Stockings were given to delighted residents at IOOF Home and Heritage Care & Rehabilitation Center in Mason City in this article.


Residents at Fleur Heights Center for Wellness & Rehab and Genesis Senior Living Center in Des Moines were overjoyed when Bobbie Jo and Zac Dorr brought gift bags for the holiday as an "adopt a senior" type of program. Donations were accepted then Bobbie Jo and Zac delivered the bags to the nursing facilities in this article.


Jester Park Equestrian Center ponies Cinnamon, Willie and Squishy showed off their holiday finery while visiting residents at Edgewater nursing facility in West Des Moines in this article.


Residents at The Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York received visits from furry visitors to help alleviate the feelings of loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic, holiday season in this article.


Kentucky nursing facilities had families decorate the windows on the outside for the holiday season in this article.


Indianola HyVee donated arrangements to nursing facilities for Christmas

Indianola HyVee donated and delivered gorgeous plants/flowers to the four area nursing homes.

Managed Care Ombudsman Program

Beginning January 1, 2021, Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) will be implemented for Managed Care as explained in this DHS/IAHealthLink publication.

Volunteer Ombudsman Program or 515-971-6294 "We are your Voice for Choice-Iowa Volunteer Ombudsman Program"


New Interim Volunteer Ombudsman

The volunteers below have completed all five training modules and participated in Learning Scenarios and are certified as interim certified volunteer ombudsman. Our new volunteers await their final facility visit for certification. We are proud to announce the following volunteers who have joined our VOP.   

  • Suzanne Van Fleet Mills County
  • Susan Evans Polk County
  • Robert Hwang Sioux County
  • Jennifer Kalashian Clayton County
  • Jacob Parker Scott County 

A special “Thank You” to Volunteer Ombudsmen Julianne Daly and Judy Avritt for holding a zoom “Meet and Greet” with our new volunteers to discuss their experiences as Volunteer Ombudsmen.


VOP Statewide Conference Call

This month's statewide call will be held on Wednesday, January 10 at 2:00 and will be presented by Local Long-Term Care Ombudsman Kim Weaver discussing accessing resident medical records. If you do view a recording of a previously recorded statewide conference call be sure to email to receive one hour of continuing education credit


Volunteer Ombudsman Judy Avritt delivers Christmas cards to residents

Judy Avritt sent this picture of her dropping off 60 Christmas cards to her facility who has been hit by COVID-19. She coordinated with her POC and left the cards outside at the designated area and then her POC retrieved the cards and passed them out to the residents. Judy said this was as close as she could get to the building but she was thankful to have the opportunity to let the residents know they are loved.

Events & Educational Opportunities


Vaccination in Long Term Care: Safety, Efficacy, and Residents' Rights 

Tuesday, Jan. 12 (12 pm)
More Information | Register