Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa, Solano and Alameda

(PLEASANT HILL, Calif.) — NEWS: At least 49 people test positive for the novel coronavirus at Orinda nursing home. “We are saddened to find out about the situation at the Orinda Care Center, where it has been reported 27 residents and 22 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19,” says Nicole Howell, executive director of Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa, Solano and Alameda.

“These seniors are our community’s most vulnerable and valuable members, and they deserve access to the highest level of care and protection we can provide. Ombudsman Services is privileged to serve these residents, and we are on standby to offer support and resources to them during this challenging time.”

Nicole adds, “It is almost surreal that we are all faced with a situation that just a month ago, we could not have fathomed. We are hopeful as we see our country and communities rise to the challenge, seeking to protect our most vulnerable, but there is so much more to be done. This local outbreak underscores the urgent need for us to double up on our commitments to practice all safety guidelines for this virus while working to maintain high engagement and connection with our seniors. We call on all members of our community to connect with the old adults in their lives via phone call, Zoom, social media, email, and other forms of digital communication.”

“Unfortunately, our most vulnerable seniors are those in long-term care facilities like Orinda Care Center, and they require the most protection. To ensure their safety, it is of utmost importance that facilities and caregivers have access to all necessary personal protective equipment (PPE),” Howell goes on to say. “Further, facility staff should only be working at one facility to prevent possible spread to other facilities and should be compensated accordingly.”

Nicole emphasizes, “We call upon cities, counties, elected officials, and all citizens to engage in this process and ensure that senior care facilities have the necessary supplies, food, and means to keep their residents safe. We hope you will all join us in taking a stand and ensuring that our seniors are safe.”

About Nicole Howell:
As the executive director for Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa, Solano and Alameda, Nicole is responsible for ensuring that the nearly 500,000 seniors in those counties have access to the highest level of care and respect and, above all, are able to live free of abuse and neglect.

Throughout her decadelong career in the nonprofit community, Nicole has helped cultivate change through a belief that there are power and equity in shared leadership. She believes that powerful leadership is met with equal parts enthusiasm, engagement, and connection to the team and those you are working with.

“I’ve always had a passion for the nonprofit community, but when I became part of Ombudsman Services, something just clicked. I quickly found myself becoming a fierce advocate for seniors and dependent adults and was driven to immerse myself in culture-changing initiatives and person-centered care philosophies. It’s a true honor to be able to use my voice for those who don’t quite know how to or can’t.”

An avid speaker on all topics on elder advocacy and elder justice, Nicole is honored to serve and be a part of the Solano Partners Against Violence as a Solano County appointed board member, a member of the Core Project Team for the Alliance to End Abuse, a member of the Steering Committee for the California Elder Justice Coalition, a member of the Council for Age-Friendly Communities – Alameda County, a board member for the Trinity Center – Contra Costa County, a member of the Rotary Club of Walnut Creek Sunrise, and 2020 Walnut Creek Chair for Wine, Women, and Shoes.

About Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa, Solano and Alameda:

Ombudsman Services is the only organization mandated by law to make unannounced visits to long-term care facilities to ensure that residents are free from abuse and are receiving quality care. We have been aiding the community for more than 40 years and all services are free of charge. We serve Contra Costa, Solano and Alameda Counties with our team of highly trained Ombudsman staff and volunteers.

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