Effective immediately! All long term care facilities now must allow visitation, including during an outbreak. View DOH EXECUTIVE DIRECTIVE (Revised April 21, 2022)
On November 12th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) updated its federal visitation guidance. This guidance requires LTC facilities to allow indoor visitation "at all times and for all residents…"
NEW! View CMS Current Guidance (updated March 10, 2022) View CMS Nursing Home Visitation FAQ
In March 2021, Governor Murphy signed into law a new and comprehensive Bill of Rights for LGBTQI and HIV+ residents of long term care. It took effect in August 2021. It can be found here .
The law makes it illegal for facilities to discriminate against LGBTQI and HIV+ residents in nearly all aspects of facility life. A few examples of illegal discrimination against LGBTQI and HIV+ residents simply because they fall into these groups include:
These are just a few examples of prohibited conduct. Suspected violations will be investigated by this office (LTCO) and referred to the NJ Department of Health for possible regulatory action/penalties. LTCO staff received extensive training on the legislation and will assess facility compliance.
The law also requires that LTC facilities post anti-discrimination signs, including specific language, that the facility does not discriminate against LGBTQI or HIV+ people and informing residents how to contact the LTCO if they feel their rights are violated. LTC facilities should already have these signs posted. The LTCO recently designed colorful posters for LTC facilities that contain this information.
Most importantly, the law requires that all LTC staff must receive training. This training must include information about LGBTQI and HIV+ terminology, best practices, history, bias and discrimination, health disparities, communications, creating a welcoming environment, and the new law.
By February 28, 2022, two designated staff members must be trained (one admin staff and one direct care staff). These two people will be the dedicated contacts for the facility to come into compliance with the law. By end of August 2022, all other facility staff members must be trained.
While the LTCO does not endorse any particular training program, there are three long-standing LGBTQI/HIV+ training organizations in the state who are prepared to offer this training and who were also instrumental in passing this law:
It is important to remember that when LGBTQI and HIV+ people go into long term care, many do not feel comfortable being themselves based on past discrimination from their peers and in medical systems. The goal is to make long term care communities safe and welcoming places for LGBTQIA and HIV+ people to call home.
If you have any questions about the law or its implementation, you can contact Amy.Brown@ltco.nj.gov or call 609-826-5090.