Lexington Herald-Leader featured an article by Sherry Culp, President of the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass. She shares a true story of what a resident experienced and how an ombudsman was able to help as well as the more information on the program. To read the entire article, 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!
The Medicare and Social Security Trustees issued the 2017 Annual Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund yesterday, projecting the Part A Trust Fund will be solvent through 2028. The 2029 depletion date is a year longer than the Trustees’ estimate last year and twelve years longer than projected before the Affordable Care Act passed. It is important to keep in mind that this does not mean that Medicare itself would be bankrupt in 2029 – it would still be able to pay out approximately 87% of its benefits.
Most SSI recipients are women—53% of all SSI recipients and 67% of older SSI recipients. Women are disproportionately reliant on SSI because they are more likely to have spent time out of the workforce caring for their families, or to have worked in low-wage or part-time jobs, or in jobs where they did not receive Social Security credits. Check out this fact sheet by Justice in Aging for more information. SSI Fact-Sheet Justice in Aging 2017
I don’t know about you, but for me, 2016 has at times felt overwhelming. Listening to the news and looking at the world around us, it can be easy to forget that we, as individuals, truly can make things better. In the midst of what may seem like chaos, even a simple action can have a profound effect.
Not long ago, one of our ombudsmen told me about a family he recently helped. Margaret, a resident at the nursing home he serves, has a serious illness. One Friday, Margaret’s daughter Linda spent the night. In the morning, Linda could tell her mother’s condition had worsened. Margaret was very confused and obviously distressed. She had tremors and her body was “jerking all over.”
Linda went to the nurses’ station to get help. A nurse came and gave Margaret pain medicine and oxygen, but the problems persisted. When Linda continued to ask for help, the nurse became rude and abusive, asking, “What more do you want me to do?”
Linda asked the staff to call an ambulance. But they couldn’t reach the doctor and refused to call an ambulance without the doctor’s approval. Distraught, Linda called the ombudsman and asked him what to do. He told her to call 911 and if she got in trouble for calling, he would take responsibility.
When the ambulance arrived at the hospital, medical staff sent Margaret directly to the Intensive Care Unit. They told her family Margaret had a urinary tract infection, a MRSA infection, and that she was anemic. They pulled back the covers and showed the family sores under her arms, between her legs, and around her neck. Her urine was strawberry red and her blood was septic. The doctors administered antibiotics and gave her three bags of blood. If Linda hadn’t called 911, they said, Margaret might not be alive.
This is one of the more dramatic examples, but it reminded me of the vital role our ombudsmen play in protecting long-term care residents’ well-being. And it also reminded me that even a simple act can have a huge impact. Making a phone call. Answering a question. Making a donation.
It costs about $100 a year to provide ombudsman services for a long-term care resident. By donating what you can—whether it’s $10, $100 or $1,000—you can help make sure residents in the Bluegrass district get the help they need, when they need it. Our program’s success relies on the generosity of compassionate people like you!
Director of Fundraising & Administration
WHAT IS THE LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM (LTCOP)?
Under the federal Older Americans Act (OAA) every state is required to have an Ombudsman Program that addresses complaints and advocates for improvements in the long-term care system. Each state has an Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman (Office), headed by a full-time State Long-Term Care Ombudsman (Ombudsman) who directs the program statewide. Across the nation, staff and thousands of volunteers are designated by State Ombudsmen as representatives to directly serve residents.
WHAT DOES THE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM DO?
The Ombudsman program advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, assisted living facilities, and other similar adult care facilities. State Ombudsmen and their designated representatives work to resolve problems individual residents face and effect change at the local, state, and national levels to improve quality of care. In addition to identifying, investigating, and resolving complaints, Ombudsman program responsibilities include:
• Educating residents, their family and facility staff about residents’ rights, good care practices, and similar long-term services and supports resources;
• Ensuring residents have regular and timely access to ombudsman services;
• Providing technical support for the development of resident and family councils;
• Advocating for changes to improve residents’ quality of life and care;
• Providing information to the public regarding long-term care facilities and services, residents’ rights, and legislative and policy issues;
• Representing resident interests before governmental agencies; and
• Seeking legal, administrative and other remedies to protect residents.
Ombudsman programs do not:
• Conduct licensing and regulatory inspections or investigations;
• Perform Adult Protective Services (APS) investigations; or
• Provide direct care for residents.
RESIDENTS’ RIGHTS Ombudsman programs help residents, family members, and others understand residents’ rights and support residents in exercising their rights guaranteed by law. Most nursing homes participate in Medicare and Medicaid, and therefore must meet federal requirements, including facility responsibilities and residents’ rights. For more information about residents’ rights visit http://ltcombudsman.org/issues/residents-rights and http://theconsumervoice.org/ issues/recipients/nursing-home-residents/residents-rights. Regardless of the type of facility all residents have the right to be protected from abuse and mistreatment and facilities are required to ensure the safety of all residents and investigate reports of mistreatment.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
Who does the Ombudsman program represent? The Ombudsman program’s mandate is to represent the resident and assist at his or her direction. The Older Americans Act (OAA) requires the Ombudsman program to have resident consent prior to investigating a complaint or referring a complaint to another agency. When someone other than the resident files a complaint, the ombudsman must determine, to the extent possible, what the resident wants.
What happens after I bring a concern to the Ombudsman program? If someone other than a resident contacts the Ombudsman program with a complaint the ombudsman will visit the resident to see if the resident has similar concerns and wants to pursue the complaint. The ombudsman will explain the role of the program, the complaint investigation process, share information about residents’ rights, ask about the resident’s quality of life and care, and seek to understand the resident’s capacity to make decisions. Many residents, even residents with dementia, are able to express their wishes. If the resident wants the ombudsman to act on the problem, the ombudsman will investigate the complaint and continue to communicate with the resident throughout the investigation process. If the resident cannot provide consent the ombudsman will work with the resident representative or follow program policies and procedures if the resident does not have a representative.
What types of complaints does the Ombudsman program investigate? Ombudsmen handle a variety of complaints about quality of life and care. Not all complaints are about the care provided by a facility, some complaints are about outside agencies, services or individuals (e.g., Medicaid or Medicare benefits). They can also receive and respond to complaints from individuals other than the resident (e.g. family member), but still need resident permission to investigate or share information.
Do ombudsmen investigate complaints involving allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation? Yes. The Ombudsman program investigates and resolves complaints that “relate to action, inaction or decisions that may adversely affect the health, safety, welfare, or rights of the residents” and that includes complaints about abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Ombudsmen are directed by resident goals for complaint resolution and limited by federal disclosure requirements. Therefore, the Ombudsman program’s role in investigating allegations of abuse is unique and differs from other entities such as, adult protective services and state licensing and certification agencies. Ombudsman programs attempt to resolve complaints to the residents’ satisfaction (including those regarding abuse) and do not gather evidence to substantiate that abuse occurred or to determine if a law or regulation was violated in order to enforce a penalty. If necessary, with resident consent or permission of the State Ombudsman if the resident can’t consent and does not have a legal representative, the ombudsman will disclose resident-identifying information to the appropriate agency or agencies for regulatory oversight; protective services; access to administrative, legal, or other remedies; and/or law enforcement action about the alleged abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Is the Ombudsman program required to report allegations of abuse? There are strict federal requirements regarding disclosure of Ombudsman program information. Resident-identifying information cannot be disclosed without resident consent, the consent of the resident representative, or a court order. Therefore, these disclosure requirements prohibit Ombudsman programs from being mandatory reporters of suspected abuse.
Information gathered from
This fact sheet was completed in association with the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care for the National Center on Elder Abuse situated at Keck School of Medicine of USC and is supported in part by a grant (No. 90AB0003-01-01) from the Administration on Aging (AOA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Grantees carrying out projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Therefore, points of view or opinions do not necessarily represent official Administration on Aging or DHHS policy.
October is Residents’ Rights month, a month that Long-Term Care Ombudsmen have been celebrating since 1981 when Residents’ Rights was a week long event. We have a lot to celebrate here in Kentucky, there are over 34,000 residents in long-term care facilities across the state and during this month we celebrate their right to be fully informed! We often hear how challenging it is for families and nursing home residents to access their medical records from facilities. Accessing your medical records is vital in advocating for quality care for residents. Residents and their legal representatives have the right to access all records pertaining to their care, including current clinical records, within 48 hours of oral or written request (this excludes weekends and holidays). Residents also have the right to purchase additional photocopies of their medical records. To receive a copy of your medical record, you must submit a written request to the facility. A facility must provide a copy of your records within 48 hours of receiving your written request. Some nursing homes have their own form for you to fill out, but they should honor a letter. In your letter, include a clear statement requesting the records and instructions on how they should get them to you. Will you pick them up at the facility and if so, what time will you be there? Don’t forget to sign and date your letter! The residents’ right to their records is just one of the many residents’ rights we celebrate every October. If you or a loved one are having difficulties accessing medical records from a nursing home call me for help at 859-277-9215.
Jodi Holsclaw, Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman