The Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass recently received a grant of $5,000 from the Bluegrass Charity Foundation. The money will be used to provide Ombudsman services to 50 residents of long-term care facilities in Fayette County. The annual Bluegrass Charity Foundation Ball raises money to support non-profits in the community. Director of Philanthropy and Administration Susie D. Hillard (far right) represented NHOA at the award presentation event.
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A summer gift drive benefiting residents of long-term care facilities in Central Kentucky kicks off on Mother’s Day, May 17, according to Denise Wells, Bluegrass District Ombudsman for the non-profit Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass, Inc. (NHOA).
“The purpose of Silver Bells 2019 (Summer Edition) is to provide the basics for financially needy nursing home residents at a time when their needs may not be ‘top of mind’ for most people,” Wells explained. “Residents need our help in the summer as much as they do at the holidays.”
Individuals, families, school groups, and businesses provided holiday gift bags for 800 residents in December 2018, Wells reports. “Watching a resident’s face light up as she unwraps a pretty new robe is intensely rewarding,” she said. “We’re confident the people of Central Kentucky will again come through for our residents.”
Participants may sponsor gift bags for $25 per resident or bring lip balm, lotion, clothing, socks, UK apparel, individually wrapped snacks, and puzzle books weekdays during business hours to the NHOA office at 3138 Custer Drive, Suite 110, Lexington, 40517.
In addition, participants may pay tribute to their own parents and grandparents during the four-week gift collection period between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day by providing NHOA with the name(s) of the person(s) being honored. Names of honorees and donors will be posted on the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency Facebook page, www.ombuddy.org, and in the newsletter.
The organization’s team of 30 certified Ombudsmen will make 5,000 visits to nursing homes, personal care homes, and family care homes in 2019 to monitor the care of every resident and to resolve residents’ complaints.
Of the 5,640 individuals living in long-term care in NHOA’s service area, 50 percent have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia; 60 percent have no visitors from outside the facility, ever, except the Ombudsman; 70 percent are impoverished, and 80 percent are women. Average age and length of stay are 80 and 2.5 years, respectively.
To make a gift, click here.
Longtime ombudsman Ken Evans passed away Wednesday, December 27, surrounded by family at his home in Lawrenceburg. Ken helped hundreds of residents of long-term care facilities get better care over the course of 18 years with NHOA.
“Ken made a great connection with many residents,” State Ombudsman Sherry Culp said. “We especially appreciate his work with veterans and the severely mentally ill.” He was a great asset to the program.”
“Ken was always willing to pitch in and travel to rural homes to make sure residents received the services they needed,” Bluegrass District Ombudsman Denise Wells added. “We will miss him.”
NHOA’s ombudsmen, board, and staff extend condolences to Ken’s widow Ann, a 30-year ombudsman who influenced her husband’s decision to serve the elderly and disabled, and the rest of his family.
To view the obituary and information about visitation and funeral services, click here. The family has requested memorial gifts to the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency in lieu of flowers. To make a secure online gift in Ken’s memory, click here.
The Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass received a grant from the Kentucky Colonels on September 22, 2017 in the amount of $1,225 to print updated Certified Ombudsman Training Manuals.
The Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency is a non-profit agency that advocates for residents living long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, personal care homes, and family care homes. Our Certified Ombudsmen receive 24 hours of initial training and more than 12 hours of continuing education every year. These new training manuals will allow our Certified Ombudsmen to continue to provide excellent advocacy services to the residents in the 17 counties of the Bluegrass Area Development District.
The Kentucky Colonels is an organization of talented and capable men and women appointed by the Governor because of their citizenship and service. Their primary objective is to support Kentucky organizations who stand ready to help our citizens everywhere. The Kentucky Colonels, through their Good Works Program, distributed $1.5 million to support 171 worthy causes this year, which will impact over 3 million people across the state.
“A Kentucky Colonel is more than just a certificate, it’s a group of compassionate individuals that care about the citizens of Kentucky and who want to make a difference. We harness our members’ generous donations and award grants to not-for-profits to help those most in need throughout the Commonwealth.”
–Barbara Dutschke, Commanding General of the Board of Trustees of the Kentucky Colonels
NHOA would like to thank the Kentucky Colonels for their continued support of our mission to improve the quality of care for residents living in long-term care!
Today I am blogging an answer to a common long-term care question about holiday gifts for residents of long-term care facilities.
Question: My sister is in a nursing home and I’m not sure what would be a good gift for her during the holiday season. Any suggestions?
Answer: Ask her what she wants. There may be something she’d enjoy or something which would make her life more pleasant. Some residents need and want clothing, including undergarments. She might like a nice outfit for the holidays or a coat and gloves. Does she like to watch television, read, or listen to music? Does she need a television? You might get her books, a CD player and CDs, or an MP3 player loaded with audio books and music files. Don’t forget to write her name on anything you give her, either by using permanent marker or engraving the item(s). Wireless earphones are a great gift for someone who has trouble hearing the television or likes to watch without disturbing anyone else. Many residents cannot afford cable television or telephone since most residents only have a $40 allowance for incidentals each month. What about a prepaid cell phone or cable television for a year? Additional gift ideas: personal items such as toiletries of the resident’s brand of choice, a trip to the beauty shop, magazine subscriptions, digital photo frames, or soft and plush blankets. If she uses a walker, you might consider a walker-tote, which attaches to a walker using Velcro®. These are perfect for the person on the go. You can find them at drug stores and medical supply stores. Another option is art, especially if it is created by an artist or children she cares about. You could create a photo album or scrapbook that would bring back fond memories. Be sure to ask the facility social worker or other facility staff to update the resident’s personal belongings inventory list so that new items are on the list. This might help recover misplaced, lost or stolen items. Note that some residents just want to be remembered throughout the year with regular visits, some fresh home-cooked food, and opportunities to be involved in family outings whenever possible.
Question: My brother lives in a nursing home and he would like to come home for the holidays. Will the nursing home let him?
Answer: Your brother can come and go as he is able. If he uses the Medicaid program, he is allowed to be away from the facility a total of ten days each year for purely social reasons. The Medicaid program calls this “therapeutic leave.” If he is currently using Medicare to pay for his stay in a skilled nursing facility, the facility can bill Medicare for the day’s stay if he returns to the facility by midnight. With advanced preparation, going home can be the best gift your brother could have this season. You should talk with the nursing staff at least two to three days in advance of the outing so they can prepare for it. The staff should package needed medication, bag up incontinence supplies, write down special food preparation instructions, and anything else you might need to do. Ask the staff to give their instructions to you in writing. If you run into trouble, you can always call the nursing home and ask questions. If there is a medical emergency while he’s home, call 911 as you would for anyone else and then alert the nursing staff at the facility. If he tires and wants to return to the facility earlier than expected, respect his wishes. With a little planning and a lot of love, it should go just great.
If you have questions about long-term care, call the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency (NHOA) at 859-277-9215 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass (NHOA) is once again accepting holiday gifts to fulfill the wishes of residents living in nursing homes, personal care homes, and family care homes. Now in its seventh year, the Silver Bells Holiday Gift Drive brings a little extra cheer for long-term care residents who would otherwise receive no gifts during the holidays.
“We find that 60% of long-term care residents do not have a regular visitor, meaning many residents are forgotten during the holidays. Residents miss the tradition of being home with family and loved ones,” said Denise Kennedy, Bluegrass District Ombudsman. “Our Silver Bells project presents the opportunity for the community to give gifts to residents so they are able to share in the holiday spirit. Last year, the community rallied to provide thoughtful gifts to 655 long-term care residents! I am excited to watch the program continue to grow, and I’m challenging our community to beat last year’s record.”
Becky Hacker, a certified NHOA ombudsman, smiled as she delivered gifts to residents in Garrard County family care homes. “Not only do the residents experience joy when they receive their gift bags, but I am overjoyed to witness their excitement and appreciation,” she shared.
Residents frequently fill their wish lists with the basics:
- socks, slipper, and robes
- sweatpants and sweatshirts
- hats, gloves, and scarves
- blankets and throws
- nice-smelling shampoo, lotion, body wash and other toiletries
- stamps to send letters to family and friends
- quarters to buy snacks from the nursing home vending machines
These small items are hard to come by when impoverished, like the 70% of nursing home residents utilizing Medicaid. Their $40 monthly allowance doesn’t stretch very far, leaving them without funds for the things they need and want.
“Silver Bells makes the residents feel special, like they’re part of the larger community and not forgotten,” said Laurie Clewett, NHOA’s Director of Fundraising and Administration.
To learn more about specific resident wishes, call (859) 277-9215. Gifts should be turned in to NHOA’s office, located at 3138 Custer Drive, Suite 110, Lexington, by December 14th at 4:00 p.m. The gifts should be unwrapped and placed in a gift bag.