The Advocate - April 2021

Advocate Header


April 2021

Note from the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman


Last month CMS revised QSO-20-39-NH regarding visitation. Paraphrasing the document, visitation should now be the rule and not the exception. However, in the experience of the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s Office—some long-term care facilities are still not getting it.


All types of visitation are to be accommodated under the revised QSO. We all know that outdoor visitation will be a bit iffy due to weather constraints during the month of April. In addition, for some residents, outdoor visitation may never be an option due to a resident’s health conditions. So, nursing facilities need to fine tune their processes and protocols for indoor visits. Nursing facilities cannot require visitors to be tested or vaccinated, or to provide proof of testing or vaccination, to enter the facilities. Visitors must adhere to core principals of COVID-19 infection prevention.


Visitation needs to be resident centered, and privacy during visits must be respected. In addition, according the Iowa Department of Public Health and Department of Inspections and Appeals Guidance from last month, if a resident is fully vaccinated, they can have close contact with the visitor as long as appropriate masking and hand-hygiene are practiced. The COVID-19 visitation restrictions have resulted in the unintended consequence of isolating residents of long-term care.


Take every opportunity to reunite residents with their friends and family because now is the time to begin to undo the harm that has resulted from visitation restrictions.

News & Resources

The Office of Inspector General warns improperly discarded COVID-19 vaccine related items could be used to commit fraud in this twitter post.


The Des Moines Area Regional Transit (DART) offers free rides for people going to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. For additional information visit their website.

Resident/Tenant Rights

A lot has happened over the past month. CMS and the CDC have updated their visitation guidance to nursing facilities. Residents began receiving visits where they could again hug and visit their loved ones in person. More facilities are welcoming back and celebrating the relaxed visitation restrictions such as Paul Farrey's story in Grand Meadows in Asbury where he can now visit his daughter in person. Relaxed visitation is featured in this story for River Bend Retirement Community and Shady Rest Care Center. The Rose of Des Moines held a grand reopening in this story, and The Rose in Dubuque celebrated a special St. Patrick's Day in this story. Positive stories are growing like the springtime season that is well on its way.


The Iowa Department of Public Health issued a media release on March 12, 2021 referring back to the revised visitation guidance from CMS and CDC stating compassionate care visits should be allowed all times, regardless of resident's vaccination status. Director Kelly Garcia stated, "Spending time with loved ones and seeing them in person is critical to overall well-being."


Lone Tree Health Care Center helped a couple celebrate 80 years of marriage by recreating their first dance. Their families were allowed to come to the window, but they hope to celebrate in person around April 30th for Mr. Ogren's 101st birthday in this article.

Resident_Tenant Health Safety Welfare


Kaylee Ciaverelli's has created Dola Dolls in honor of her Grandmother Dola who lives with dementia. The Dola dolls have been used in doll therapy and are in facilities in Iowa, Kansas and Texas. Administrator Michael Davis at IOOF Home and Community Therapy Center, a nursing facility in Iowa attests to the Dola Dolls success. Kaylee wanted to see her grandmother live a full and meaningful life while in the facility as explained in this article.


Springtime is here and the green grass has returned. March was nutrition month and there are several ideas in the following article that increase the dining experience for residents and tenants in long-term care facilities especially those who may have had COVID-19.

Springpoint, a New Jersey based provider that includes a Village Point Rehabilitation and Health Care in Monroe Township, New Jersey has partnered with Eldergrow, to offer indoor gardening for seniors in long-term care. These gardens are easily accessible to the people living in long-term care and can be easily incorporated into therapy. For additional information view this article.


Ten New York facilities competed for top prizes against each other in their Winter Olympics. Hidden talents and skills were showcased among residents and staff as described in this article

Managed Care Ombudsman Program

In The Advocate - January 2021 edition our Office shared that EVV has been implemented. This is the website to EVV information for Iowa Total Care Members. Amerigroup members will need to call 844-800-9938 #1061345012 or 515-327-7012 ext 106 122 3039. Training is available for providers that will be completing EVV.

Involuntary discharge header


The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman COVID-19 webpage links to Governor Reynold's proclamation that suspends involuntary discharges for financial reasons for residents living in nursing or residential care facilities until May 2, 2021.

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

National Volunteer Week


National Volunteer Week

April 18 through April 24 is National Volunteer Week. We would like to take an opportunity to show our appreciation to all of the Volunteer Ombudsman on Tuesday, April 20 at 3:30. Please see and upcoming email from Lisa for connection information.


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.  

  • Pamala Mead- Johnson County
  • Emiley Bruce- Story County
  • Katie Telford- Dubuque County
  • AnnaVay Ellingworth- Black Hawk County

VOP Statewide Conference Call

This month's statewide call will be held on Tuesday, April 27 at 10:00 am and will be presented by Vicki Worth, LTC Bureau Chief Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals discussing the facility survey process and Volunteer Ombudsman role. 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.

Events & Educational Opportunities


Successful Communication During COVID-19

VOP CEU eligible

May 11 (1 pm)

More Information | Register


Successful Complaint Investigation and Resolution During COVID-19

VOP CEU eligible

May 25 (1 pm)

More Information | Register


The Care of Individuals with Dementia

VOP CEU eligible


Of Interest to Facilities:

An Antidote to Ageism in Nursing Homes

Not VOP CEU eligible

April 20 (12 pm)

More Information | Register


Starting the Conversation: Older Adults and Suicide

Not VOP CEU eligible

May 11 (12 pm)

More Information | Register


The Devasting Effect of Lockdowns on Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities During COVID19

Not VOP CEU eligible


A Webinar on the Revised Nursing Home Visitation Guidance

Not VOP CEU eligible