Connelly Law Offices, Ltd. does a monthly blog that is dedicated to news and information from our community partners for our community partners and residents of southern New England about upcoming fundraising events, special projects, volunteer opportunities, and community announcements that are of importance to our senior population and their families.
Our blogs and monthly newsletters cover essential issues impacting our senior communities that include assisted living, nursing homes, low-income senior housing, and those aging in place. Our blog reaches thousands of people in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts including nonprofits, religious organizations, business leaders, volunteers, government officials, and seniors and their families. If you would like to submit information to us that reaches this important audience, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this month's community partners' news, we feature a number of important press releases and information updates from Kathleen Heren, the Rhode Island Long-term Care Ombudsman from Rhode Island State Ombudsman Office regarding COVID Vaccines and other COVID related issues. OSCIL is holding a special food distribution event for Rhode Island residents with disabilities and their families who have been affected by COVID-19. We provide a list of our guests appearing on our radio show this month and give some important information about the Clarity Trial, an Anti-Amyloid Antibody Treatment Study for Individuals with Early Alzheimer’s Disease.
And read our update on the stimulus checks. Those who may be receiving a check in the mail need to be aware of what that envelope will look like. It will not look like the envelopes sent by the treasury department for those who receive monthly social security benefits through the mail. Check out the information below.
A Message to Rhode Island State Providers
from Kathy Heren, RI State Ombudsman
Happy New Year to you and your staff. It has come to my attention this week some employees are refusing the vaccine based on religious beliefs. When I researched this, I learned that there is a misconception of what is contained in the serum. Somehow the rumor was that the stem cells from aborted fetuses were in the composition of the vaccine. I contacted Alysia Michalakos at Health to share this concern. Alysia was kind enough to provide me with information from the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. I am sharing this information with you. Please distribute this to your staff.
“The State will not currently be mandating the vaccine for any populations, but individual entities have their own ability to determine what their conditions of employment will be. Of note, the vaccine being offered to nursing home staff and residents is the Pfizer vaccine, which is one of the two vaccines described as “morally justifiable” by US Conference of Catholic Bishops.” (click on the "Vatican News" box below to read the article):
It would be my guess that staff who are refusing may not tell you the reason as religion is a very private matter. Providing your staff with this knowledge may prevent people from not being vaccinated. I have to be honest; this was a surprise to me. All of you be well and thank you for all your hard work.
Part B of the Pharmacy Partnership for LTC Program for COVID-19 Vaccination
from Kathy Heren, RI State Ombudsman
The following is a message from the Rhode Island Health Notification System.
Please be advised that Part B of the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program for COVID-19 Vaccination will be starting in the coming weeks. In the coming days, you should expect communication from either CVS or Walgreens to begin the process of scheduling vaccination clinics for your facility’s residents and staff.
Guidance regarding the COVID-19 staff and resident vaccine clinics can be found on CVS’s and Walgreens’ specific webpages:
These pages include several useful resources, including communication materials for staff and resident education about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Consent Procedures for the COVID Vaccine
from Kathy Heren, RI State Ombudsman
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) prepared this guidance for healthcare providers who are vaccinating people who cannot provide informed consent and do not have a guardian or power of attorney. The virus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) is known to cause the disease Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 has a significant morbidity and mortality rate in Rhode Island, particularly in institutional settings, and is responsible for global morbidity, mortality, and disruption. A safe, effective vaccine is the best hope to end the global pandemic and eradicate COVID-19. Widespread vaccination is a critical component of the State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 11, 2020, and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on December 18, 2020. Following the State’s own internal review process, including a review by the Rhode Island COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee, RIDOH approved the use of these vaccines beginning on December 14, 2020, and December 21, 2020, respectively.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that vaccination provider partners follow all EUA Conditions of Use procedures when administering COVID-19 vaccines, including giving patients the applicable vaccine patient fact sheets. Pfizer | Moderna Providers should obtain consent or assent for vaccination from the patient or their medical proxy and must document this in the patient’s chart per standard practice.
Licensed healthcare providers are expected to act in the patient’s best interests at all times in all clinical situations. They should consider beneficence, respect for patient autonomy, and other ethical principles when administering COVID-19 vaccines.
Executive Order 20-70 provides immunity from liability for healthcare workers who provide healthcare services to assist the State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, so long as they do not engage in willful misconduct, gross negligence, or bad faith. The administration of approved vaccines by licensed healthcare providers is critical to the State’s efforts to fight the pandemic.
Always secure informed consent if a patient is capable of giving that level of consent or if there is an authorization from a guardian or power of attorney. 2 When a patient cannot provide informed consent and does not have a guardian or power of attorney, the vaccinating licensed independent healthcare provider shall educate the patient at the patient’s level of ability and understanding. The provider should describe the purpose of the vaccine, explain its known benefits and risks to the patient’s health, discuss the health of applicable caregivers and the general population, and obtain the patient’s assent to receive the vaccine.
This education and guidance shall be provided by trained licensed healthcare providers rather than non-clinical staff.
If someone is incapacitated and does not have a power of attorney or guardian, the clinician shall use their clinical judgment and do what is in the best interest of their patient using the same ethical considerations described above. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman (email@example.com) and the State’s Mental Health Advocate (firstname.lastname@example.org) are available to support clinicians who want support in this decision making.
OSCIL Food Distribution for Those Affected by COVID
from Carol Mckenna, OSCIL
Hi Folks - As you may have heard, we have been planning a free food distribution event for RI residents with disabilities and their families. It will be a four-day event from Jan 19-23 and will be held at our Airport Plaza location. I have attached a copy of the flyer for the event that you can print out. Please share this with anyone who may qualify. The qualifications to be eligible are listed on the flyer and also on OSCIL's webpage.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask any of the Food Insecurity Event Committee: Cynthia, Matt, Amanda, Brian, Linda H, Corrine, or me.
Click on the flyer below to go to the OSCIL Information Page
Elves for Elders in 2020
by RJ Connelly III, Certified Elder Law Attorney
We received a note from Maxine Hutchins from the Elves for Elders Program. She informed us that even with the issues associated with the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, she was able to raise a significant amount of funds for the program. Through her hard work and the support of others in our community, she was able to raise $10,000 to "provide Christmas cheer to over 1000 seniors across the state." Great job, Maxine!
Southcoast Seniors Radio Show for January 2021
on am790 WPRV Providence
Clarity Trial - Anti-Amyloid Antibody Treatment Study for Individuals with Early Alzheimer’s Disease
Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital at the Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center (ADMDC) are recruiting for a new phase III clinical trial of an anti-amyloid antibody, BAN2401, for patients with early Alzheimer’s disease. BAN2401 works by selectively targeting toxic forms of amyloid-beta in the brain. On our January 7th edition of Southcoast Seniors Radio Magazine heard on am790 WPRV, Terry Fogerty, Community Outreach Coordinator for the Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center, discussed this exciting clinical trial. To hear a podcast of that show, click here.
This investigational medication is being jointly developed by Eisai and Biogen, leading companies in the field. The purpose of this study is to determine the safety and efficacy of BAN2401 in treating people with Mild Cognitive Impairment or mild Alzheimer’s disease. Only individuals with elevated levels of amyloid plaques on a brain PET scan are eligible. In this placebo-controlled study, BAN2401 will be given intravenously twice a month for 18 months. After completing the initial 18-month period, all participants may be offered the opportunity to receive the study drug and continue in the trial. Click on the photo below to go to the Clarity Trial web page for more information.
Long Term Neurological Symptoms Emerge in COVID
by MedPage Today
This information is important for long term care providers to be aware of. Long-term neurologic manifestations were seen in more than a third of patients hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 infection, a prospective study in Italy showed.
In a group of hospitalized COVID-19 patients with no prior neurologic disease, 37.4% showed abnormalities on neurologic exam 6 months later -- most commonly cognitive deficits, hyposmia, and postural tremor -- according to Alessandro Padovani, MD, PhD, of the University of Brescia, and co-authors. The findings were reported in a medRxiv preprint and have not undergone peer review.
Patients also noted fatigue, memory impairment, and sleep disorders, Padovani said. "The severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection was an important predictor, together with age and premorbid condition, of long-term neurological symptoms and features in the cohort."
The findings are important for long-term management of COVID-19 patients, he told MedPage Today. "They showed that the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection may impact on neurological sequelae, but also that the symptoms reported do not always reflect neurological features at examination."
The study is one of the first to look specifically for new long-term neurologic manifestations in COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized. Earlier research showed that 87% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 reported persistence of at least one lingering symptom, notably fatigue and dyspnea, 60 days after discharge. Fatigue and dyspnea also were the most prevalent symptoms reported during infection and at 3-month follow-up in an analysis of both hospitalized and non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Padovani and colleagues asked all COVID-19 survivors without premorbid neurologic disease who were discharged from the ASST Spedali Civili Hospital between February and April 2020 to participate in a follow-up study that included a standardized neurologic symptom checklist and a neurologic exam at 6 months.
The checklist including symptoms related to central, peripheral, myopathic, and cognitive manifestations. The exam assessed cranial nerves; motor, sensory, cerebellar, and basal ganglia-related function; deep tendon reflexes; pyramidal signs; and global cognitive function using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA).
Cognitive impairment was specifically associated with severity of COVID-19, independently of age and pre-morbid conditions. "On one hand, this suggests that hospitalization and severity of COVID-19 have a large impact in subjects with increased multi-morbidity, in line with other infectious diseases, such as community-acquired pneumonia," the researchers noted.
On the other hand, the persistence of cognitive deficits "needs to be addressed in COVID-19 follow-up programs to evaluate their impact and progression over time and disentangle their potential relationship with psychosocial and psychiatric disturbances," the investigators pointed out.
To that end, a global prospective study to investigate links between COVID-19 and cognitive decline was announced this week by the Alzheimer's Association, the World Health Organization, and others.
The research had several limitations, the team said. It was a single-center study with a relatively small sample size; premorbid conditions were based on medical records and assessment during hospitalization without extensive neurologic screening at baseline; and patients who developed neurologic disease during the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection were not included.