Nursing home residents need your help!
Currently, Congress is discussing important end of the year legislation. Advocates have been contacting Congress asking them to include critical nursing home provisions in an end of year appropriations bill. You too can urge your members of Congress to include provisions that support and protect nursing home residents in the end of the year appropriations bill.
The National Consumer Voice has developed tools to help you easily share your message with Congress today.
These important provisions would:
- Provide funding to support state regulatory agencies in their survey and certification activities. There has not been an increase in funding for oversight agencies since 2014.
- Provide funding to CMS to audit Medicare cost reports. In 2020, nursing homes received $66.9 billion in Medicare and Medicaid dollars. Additionally, they received tens of billions of dollars in COVID-19 provider relief funds. Yet little to no scrutiny is placed on how this money is spent.
- Provide funding to ensure accurate data on nursing home resident health conditions and treatment. Nursing homes submit data to the federal government on each nursing home resident in their care, yet these data are not audited for accuracy.
- In addition, the bill reauthorized and updated the Elder Justice Act which provided crucial funding for long-term care staff, ombudsman and adult protective services programs, and to other critical programs that serve Older Americans.
Send a message to your members of Congress!
Each year, we hear from families asking, "My loved one lives in a nursing home. Can they come home for the holidays?"
The answer is YES! Your loved one can come and go as they are able.
If they are using Medicaid, they are allowed to be away from the facility for several days each year for purely social reasons. If they are using Medicare, the facility can bill Medicare for the day's stay if they return by midnight.
With advanced preparation, going home can be the best gift your loved one 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 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 home, call 911 as you would for anyone else and then alert the nursing staff at the facility. If your loved one tires and wants to return to her facility earlier than expected, respect their wishes. With a little planning and a lot of love, it should go just great!
If leaving the facility is not something the resident would enjoy then don't feel pressure to get them "home for the holidays." Think ahead about what might make celebrating at the facility as enjoyable as possible.
Sharing your time and love is priceless. Happy Holidays!
Protecting Long-Term Care Consumers from the Dangers of Bed Rails
Bed rails are metal or plastic bars positioned along the side of a bed, also commonly known as side rails. The rails may extend the length of the bed or less, such as a quarter or half length. Some people use bed rails to help pull themselves up, turn in bed, or to get out of bed. Others may use a bed rail thinking it will prevent an older adult from falling out of bed or keep an individual with dementia from getting out of bed and wandering.
Bed rails are frequently used in homes or long-term care facilities because they are believed to keep people safe. In reality, bed rails can be extremely harmful causing strangulation or asphyxiation and severe injury. From January 2003 through September 2012, 155 deaths involving bed rails were reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The CPSC determined preliminarily that there is an unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with entrapment hazards from adult portable bed rails. The CPSC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking about the use of adult portable bed rails [CPSC-2013-0022]. Comments are requested to be submitted at www.regulations.gov, Docket No. CPSC-2013-0022, by January 9, 2023. Among CPSC's findings leading to this action is that manufacturers of these devices failed to comply fully with the voluntary standards established in 2017, and the number of injuries skyrocketed to over 5,000 for the years 2020 and 2021
Alternatives to Bed Rails include:
- Lowering the bed as near to the floor as possible. An adjustable height bed can go very low to the floor for sleeping and be raised for transfers and care.
- Placing non-slip mattress pads or other cushioning by the side of the bed to cushion any fall that might occur.
- Using a secured vertical pole to assist in getting in and out of bed.
- Using a bed trapeze to help reposition while in bed and to get in and out of bed.
On The National Consumer Voice webpage, you will find more information on bed rails.
You have helped make a difference in your community!
Mr. M called the Ombudsman hotline to say how grateful he was for ombudsmen. He said he could always count on the ombudsman.
Thank you to the hundreds of donors who helped ombudsmen gather gifts for residents this season!
It's not too late to donate. Email us for more information
During the past 12 months Ombudsmen resolved 90% of the 2,100 complaints they received.
Ombudsmen advocate for residents of long-term care facilities at no charge to residents or families. Over the past 12 months they have engaged in more than 7,500 visits to long-term care facilities in Kentucky.
Long-Term Care Ombudsmen
- protect the special legal rights of residents.
- identify, investigate, and resolve residents’ problems and concerns
- empower residents to make informed choices.
- work to enact laws to protect residents and older Kentuckians.
Long-term care ombudsmen serve residents in all counties in Kentucky.