Carol Bradley Bursack, Published May 05 2012
Bursack: Care ombudsman can help with transitions
I’m afraid moving her to a nursing home is the only choice. I’m not sure how to go about the change, or when to do this. The financial aspects worry me. Where do I start? – Michael
Dear Michael: One of the best resources for information about transferring a resident from one type of facility to another is through your community’s long-term care ombudsman.
Besides advocating for people who are unhappy with nursing home or other long-term care, the long-term care ombudsman can help with transitional situations such as the issue with your mother.
An easy way to find your ombudsman is through the National Long-term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) at www.ltcombudsman.org. The ombudsman program is funded by the Administration on Aging. The AoA website, at www.aoa.gov, also offers a wealth of information on aging services. For people who prefer the phone to a website, call the Eldercare Locator at (800) 677-1116.
According to NORC, your ombudsman:
- Resolves complaints made by or for residents of long-term care facilities.
- Educates consumers and long-term care providers about residents’ rights and good care practices.
- Promotes community involvement through volunteer opportunities.
- Provides information to the public on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and services, residents’ rights and legislative and policy issues.
- Advocates for residents’ rights and quality care in nursing homes, personal care, residential care and other long-term care facilities.
- Promotes the development of citizen organizations, family councils and resident councils.
If you choose to use the NORC website, simply type in the Zip code for the facility you are interested in and you will see the contact information for a person who can help you with your questions. You can also find the contact at your state’s website.
Because I receive a number of questions from people wondering about nursing home resident discharges, as well as medication issues in some nursing homes, I’m adding below more information from the NORC site about other concerns an ombudsman can address:
- Violation of residents’ rights or dignity.
- Physical, verbal or mental abuse, deprivation of services necessary to maintain residents’ physical and mental health, or unreasonable confinement.
- Poor quality of care, including inadequate personal hygiene and slow response to requests for assistance.
- Improper transfer or discharge of patient.
- Inappropriate use of chemical or physical restraints.
- Any resident concern about quality of care or quality of life.
A trained long-term care ombudsman is available to help guide people with questions about long-term care. If the ombudsman can’t directly help with the issue, he or she likely can direct you to another resource.
Carol Bradley Bursack is the author of a support book on caregiving and runs a website supporting caregivers at www.mindingourelders.com.