By Lance Robertson: For More Info, Go Here…
Today, ACL posted new data on the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program’s impact in fiscal year 2017. Looking through the data, I am struck by both the scope and the impact of the work that ombudsmen do every day.
As the Ombudsman program enters its 40th year as a mandatory program of the Older Americans Act, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the data ACL has compiled, highlight some of the amazing work done by programs across the country, and discuss some important developments for the future of the program.
I would like to start with the story of just one of the more than 200,000 complaints Ombudsman programs resolve annually. The complaint came from a nursing home where residents had to walk along a busy road to access the surrounding neighborhood.
The absence of a sidewalk presented a daily hazard to residents and had already resulted in one resident being hit by a car. That resident reached out to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman office who worked with the resident, their local Ombudsman advisory council, and, eventually, city leaders to get a new safe sidewalk built outside the facility. Now, residents can travel with greater freedom and safety.
Ombudsman programs respond to a wide variety of problems faced by residents of long-term care facilities, including discharge and eviction, inadequate care, violation of rights, and quality of life concerns. In fiscal year 2017, Ombudsman programs provided regular visits to 60% of all nursing homes and 30% of all other residential care communities in the country. They also provided over 400,000 instances of information and assistance on resident rights, care, and community options to residents and their loved ones and over 125,000 instances of information and assistance to facility staff on issues of discharge planning, care, rights, and abuse prevention.
The most common types of complaints Ombudsman programs received involved improper eviction or inadequate discharge planning, Ombudsman programs worked to resolve over 14,000 such complaints in fiscal year 2017.