Issues

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Advancing Excellence – A national campaign to improve the quality of care in nursing homes that kicked off in September 2006.

Assisted Living – Strengthening assisted living standards is critical to protect vulnerable residents and ensure an reasonable quality of care. Follow the development of this issue as many seek to define assisted living in a meaningful way.

Bankruptcy Law and the LTCOP – The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 allows the appointment of a “Patient Care Ombudsman,” which may be the State Ombudsman.

Culture Change – This movement promotes a person-centered model of care.

Dementia Care – Find resources and information achieving quality care for people living with dementia care.

Elder Abuse/Elder Justice – Sadly, older persons are not always treated with respect nor do they always get the care they need.

Emergency Preparedness – Resources are available for victims, their families and care providers that may be useful in preparing for, or in the aftermath of, an emergency event.

Family and Resident Councils – The Older Americans Act requires ombudsmen to support the development of resident and family councils.

Guardianship - Find resources and information related to guardianship.

Health Care Reform – Find resources and get information about health care reform.

HIPAA Privacy Rule – Many questions have arisen about privacy of information since HIPAA was enacted in 1996. How does it affect resident and resident representatives’ access to records?

Home and Community Based Services – Significant efforts are underway at both the state and national levels to “rebalance” the long-term care system to give consumers needing long-term care services more choices in where and how they receive those services. Here you will find information about different programs, including Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC’s), which are single points of entry to long-term care services being developed around the country.

Infection Prevention - Flu, Viruses, and Other Health Issues – Ombudsmen, residents and their families can stay up to date with the latest health recommendations for long-term care facilities through published items on this site.

LGBT Elders - Get resources and information related to to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults and aging.

Licensing and Certification - Each state has an Office of Licensure and Certification that works to ensure that the quality of healthcare delivered by providers is safe, cost effective and compliant with all state and federal laws. Nursing homes must be licensed to operate according to their state’s licensure requirements.  Get resources and information related to the licensing and certification of long-term care facilities.

MDS 3.0 – Resources and information related to MDS 3.0.

Medicare and Medicaid - Medicare and Medicaid are two federal programs administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that provide medical and health-related services to specific populations within the United States.

Mental Health/Mental Illness – Resources and information related to mental health/mental illness among the long-term care population.

Misuse of Antipsychotic Drugs - Ending overmedication of nursing home residents and halting the misuse of antipsychotic drugs as chemical restraints is critical.  Antipsychotic drugs, when prescribed for elderly persons with dementia, can have serious medical complications, including: death, loss of independence, over-sedation, confusion and falls.

Nursing Home Closures – As nursing homes close for financial or other reasons, residents must be relocated to other facilities. Ombudsmen are involved in many sides of this issue, including helping residents find appropriate placements and making sure quality care is maintained.

Nursing Home Staffing – A staffing shortage in nursing homes has contributed to poor quality care. This issue remains a top priority on Consumer Voice’s advocacy agenda.

Older Americans Act Reauthorization -This page contains resources and information on the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act.

Olmstead Decision – The Olmstead court decision involves a persons right to choose care in the least restrictive setting. States are required to have a plan to accommodate resident requests to return from institutions to the community and how to stimulate alternatives to institutional care.

Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) - The POLST system converts patient preferences for life-sustaining treatment into actionable medical orders by providing clear instructions as to what treatments the patient would like as it relates to the use of: cardiopulmonary resuscitation, antibiotics and IV fluids, a ventilator to help with breathing, and artificial nutrition by tube.

Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI) - Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI) is an initiative undertaken by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid studies to expand improvement activities in nursing homes. The provision is included in the Affordable Care Act and states that QAPI programs shall develop regulations that help facilities meet new established standards. The QAPI program also gives CMS  the opportunity to find the best practices in nursing home quality , identiy areas of need and advancement, and expand the level of activites currently required by the existigng Quality Assesment and Assurance provision

Residents' Rights - Residents’ Rights are guaranteed by the federal 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law. The law requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident” and places a strong emphasis on individual dignity and self-determination. This page includes information on Residents' Rights, Residents' Rights translations and National Residents' Rights month.

Sexuality and Intimacy in Long-Term Care Facilities  - Intimacy and physical sexual expression is a basic human right and need throughout the lifespan. Find resources to help caregivers recognize consensual intimacy, protect residents from sexual abuse and support residents’ rights.

Transfer/Discharge - Transfer and Discharge continues to be one of the top complaints that ombudsmen report encountering, and these cases can be extremely complex.  The threat of transfer or discharge from a nursing home can be both frightening and stressful for residents and their families. Too often, a facility may respond to resident’s difficulties or increasing need for care or repeated questions or complaints from family members by transferring or discharging the resident. The Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987 protects residents from involuntary transfer and discharge.

Veterans Affairs - Resources and information related to veterans' benefits and issues.

Voting- Resources and information about the involvement of Long-Term Care Ombudsmen Programs in advocating and aiding in the voting process of long-term care residents.

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Technical Assistance Briefs


Personal Property in Long-Term Care Facilities
Residents in long-term care facilities have the right to retain personal possessions and make their room as homelike as possible. While the size of the room and potential health and safety of other residents may need to be considered and result in limitations, a long-term care facility cannot ban the placement of personal property in a resident’s room. This TA Brief addresses the question of whether or not it is appropriate for a long-term care facility to restrict or ban personal property from appearing on the walls, floor or in other areas of the resident’s room.

Voting in Long-Term Care: The Role of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman
This Technical Assistance Brief for Long-Term Care Ombudsman Practice addresses the issue of voting in long-term care facilities.  Residents in long-term care facilities may encounter challenges as they exercise their right to vote (e.g. ensuring their voter registration is current, transportation to the polls, using an absentee ballot). Additionally, residents may need assistance completing and submitting their ballot.  This brief details the role of the ombudsman in assisting residents with reading the ballot, marking the resident’s vote and/or submitting the resident’s ballot.

Family Council Recognition in Long-Term Care Facilities
Family members in a nursing home can join together to form a united consumer voice which can communicate concerns to facility administrators and work for resolutions and improvements by forming a family council. Family councils can play a crucial role in voicing concerns, requesting improvements, supporting new family members and residents, and supporting facility efforts to make care and life in the facility the best it can be.  Facilities are required by law to listen to the views and act upon the grievances and recommendations of residents and families concerning proposed policy and operational decisions affecting resident care and life in the facility.

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Archive


H1N1 Virus (Formerly Called “Swine Flu”) Information – Get information on the H1N1 Virus, including brochures, tips for staying healthy and links to the CDC website.

U.S. Census 2010 – The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States and is required by the Constitution to take place every 10 years. Learn more about how nursing home residents will be included in this count.

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