Making Our Communities Better for Everyone
Long-Term Care Ombudsmen (LTCO) across the state make a difference in our communities every day. The 32 (full-time equivalent) staff and 21 certified ombudsman volunteers in the program have poured their hearts into helping some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. Ombudsmen and over 100 friendly visitors and advisory council volunteers have also filled their minds and sharpened their advocacy skills by completing nearly 3,500 hours of continuing education. These folks are a highly trained corps of advocates. Here are just a few examples of the many services our program staff and volunteers provided in the past 12 months:
10,729 long-term care facility visits. Including visiting the newest level of long-term care in KY- assisted living. We now cover over 100 new facilities serving an additional 5,400 assisted living residents.
Over 16,500 individuals were assisted with information in addition to our normal case complaint work.
49 training sessions were provided to long-term care facility staff.
3,563 consultation sessions with facility staff answering questions about services, discharge and transfer of residents and residents’ rights.
And on top of all of this, certified long-term care ombudsmen worked on 2,479 complaints and managed over 1,000 open cases. The breakdown of complaints that residents experienced included:
Abuse, Gross Neglect, Exploitation 2.6%Access to Information 3.0%Activities, Community Integration and Social Services 3.3%Admission, Transfer, Discharge, Eviction 7.0%Autonomy, Choice, Rights 18.7%Care 36.3%Complaints about an Outside Agency (non-facility) 0.7%Dietary 8.0%Environment 7.5%Facility Policies, Procedures and Practices 6.2%Financial, Property 4.0%Other (non-facility) 2.6%
I am so proud of everyone in the program who works to help residents exercise their rights, resolve concerns/complaints, provide community and provider education, and help keep our program strong. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Sincerely,Sherry CulpKY State LTC Ombudsman
Pennyrile LTC Ombudsman Program volunteer training and recognition event was held at Lake Barkley State Park. Training included diversity and equity, Kentucky veterans’ services, stress management, and LTCO program updates. Pictured above left to right are Regional Ombudsman Mark Burress
, Friendly Visitor Joyce Kunnecke, Ombudsman Kathy Pharris, District LTC Ombudsman Cindy Tabor
, Friendly Visitor Nancy Clement, and Advisory Council member Anita Simmons.
Buffalo Trace LTC Ombudsman Program volunteer training and recognition event was held at Desha’s in Maysville. Regional Ombudsman Jodi Karapandzic
presented information to the group about advocacy and the job quality crisis in long-term care. Pictured above on the first row left to right are Friendly Visitors Adam Gulley & Shirley Purcell, Advisory Council member Sue McIntyre, and Friendly Visitor Rachel Robinson. On the second row is Ombudsman Kimberly McKinniss, Regional Ombudsman Jodi Karapandzic, Ombudsman Beth Hayslip, District LTC Ombudsman Amanda Grooms
, and Ombudsmen Leah Fryman, Courtney Manley, Jennifer Boone, and Cassie Lykins.
The Kentucky River LTC Ombudsman Program volunteer training and recognition event was held on May 17. District LTC Ombudsman Sheila Cornett
provided training on dignity and respect of residents and hosted guest speakers from AppalRed Legal Aid who addressed legal representation of LTC residents.
The Big Sandy LTC Ombudsman Program volunteer training and recognition event was held in Prestonsburg. Regional Ombudsman Mark Burress provided training on the Rights of Residents in Nursing Facilities
. Pictured above are District LTC Ombudsman Teresa Conley
, Ombudsmen Stacy Hall, Kennith Johnson, Advisory Council member Margaret Banks, and Amanda Lawson.
is the new Big Sandy District LTC Ombudsman serving out of the Big Sandy Area Agency on Aging office in Prestonsburg. Teresa says, “I knew I wanted to contribute something to this population which had made our society…Now here I am, eager to get out there and help.”
Teresa earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with emphasis in criminology from Morehead State University. She completed a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati. Teresa worked as a victim advocate for domestic violence and elder abuse; a school-based therapist; and an adult case manager. Teresa has experience working with residents of personal care homes.
Teresa says, “I am happily married, with a total of three daughters, and one amazing grandson.”
Community EducationMuhlenberg County Senior Center hosted a health fair and Pennyrile District Ombudsman Cindy Tabor distributed information about the LTCO program and the Local Elder Abuse Council. If you are hosting a health fair or other education event, please let your area’s District Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program know. For a complete listing of ombudsman programs and the counties they serve visit our website
Check out the Barren River Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program’s new video. Contact District LTC Lynda Love
today if you are interested in volunteering in Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson, and Warren counties.
Provider EducationDenise Wells, Ombudsman and Executive Director of the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency (NHOA) spoke at the Kentucky Senior Living Association Conference in May. Assisted Living was defined as long-term care during the 2022 KY General Assembly and LTC ombudsmen began serving assisted living residents in October. Denise shared detailed information about the role and services of the LTCO program and answered provider questions.
We are looking for volunteers!
Contact us for more informationEmail
or call 859-277-9215.
Nursing Home Survey Agencies are Severely Understaffed
The US Senate Special Committee on Aging released a new report, “Uninspected and Neglected: Nursing Home Agencies are Severely Understaffed, Putting Residents at Risk
.” The report details a nationwide staffing crisis at state survey agencies that is directly impacting the health and well-being of nursing home residents. The report says Kentucky has a surveyor vacancy rate of 83%.
Kentucky wrote, “Sixty-seven percent of our workforce have two years or less of surveying
experience, which affects the quantity and quality of our work product. So training is crucial for these staff, however, at this time, Kentucky’s five trainer positions are vacant. Although we continue to post positions and conduct interviews routinely, once candidates are offered the position, they decline citing the low pay. This leads
to our need to re-post more positions, review more applications, and conduct more interviews than we have ever had to do before and adds significantly to our daily workload. This also takes time away from our CMS work duties.”
The Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing
on the issue on May 18.
15,000 nursing homes are behind on their annual surveys, with 11% of homes not having had a survey in over two years.
The Committee’s report recommended increased funding from Congress for state survey agencies. The report also notes the critical role of Long-Term Care Ombudsmen in advocating on behalf of residents and calls for increased funding for the LTCO program.
80% of Voters Support Minimum Staffing Standards in Nursing Homes
According to a recent poll, 80% of U.S. registered voters supported candidates who support requiring minimum staffing standards in nursing homes. 89% of Democrats and 74% of Republicans said they were more likely to vote for candidates who backed minimum staffing standards. The poll conducted by Fabrizio Ward and Impact Research and released by AARP also found wide support for candidates who back proposals that support family caregivers and help seniors live in their own homes. 78% of voters are current, past, or future family caregivers, and over 70% of voters across the political spectrum said they would be more likely to support a candidate who backed proposals for family caregivers such as a tax credit or paid family leave. Eighty-nine percent of Democrats and 72% of Republicans support expanding services to help seniors stay out of the nursing home by living at home.New AARP Study
Resident Newsletter Available
The Consumer Voice’s newsletter The Resident Advocate
is now available. This newsletter provides information on top issues for residents. The Resident Advocate is a great resource to share with residents. We thank the Consumer Voice for this valuable resource and encourage you to forward it or print and share it with residents.
Updated Nursing Home Visitation Guidance from CMS
On May 8, 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released updated nursing home visitation guidance
. The guidance notes that while the Public Health Emergency (PHE) ended on May 11, 2023, CMS still expects all nursing homes to adhere to infection control procedures.
Indoor visitation should occur in the resident’s room during a COVID-19 outbreak.
Importantly, the guidance continues to state there are no current COVID-19 scenarios that would permit a facility to prohibit a resident to have visitors at any time.Additionally, on May 11, 2023, the COVID-19 outbreak testing requirement will no longer be in effect. Under that guidance, facilities were required to follow a certain testing protocol when a COVID-19 outbreak occurred. The updated guidance requires nursing homes to conduct COVID-19 testing in compliance with CDC recommendations.
May Older American Month Celebrations
Lincoln Trail District LTC Ombudsman Beverly Broadus
will have a booth at the Lincoln Trail Senior Celebration. Come out and see Beverly, the other vendors, and celebrate Older Americans’ Month on Thursday May 25!
Stacy Hall an Ombudsman in the Big Sandy area helped raise awareness about Older Americans Month and elder abuse prevention by working with the Big Sandy Council on Elder Maltreatment to place a rocking chair at the Prestonsburg Senior Center. The chair was painted purple, the color representing elder abuse awareness, by Seeshell Akers.
Buffalo Trace District LTC Ombudsman Amanda Grooms
(pictured far left) organized and hosted a panel of local providers during Older Americans Month. The Senior Summit was held at Crosspoint Community Church. Twenty-four community partners participated in the event and provided information and assistance to attendees. Speakers discussed emergency preparedness, estate planning, and stress management.
Northern Kentucky District LTCO Bethany Breckel
and Assistant Ombudsman Paula Wiggers, pictured above, celebrated Older Americans Month and helped raise awareness about the theme Aging Unbound
and what it means to them.
Raise AwarenessandStop Violence
June 2023 Events
What’s an Ombudsman?
Ombudsmen advocate for residents of long-term care facilities at no charge to residents or families.
Long-Term Care Ombudsmen
- Regularly make unannounced visits to long-term care facilities to visit residents.
- Protect the special legal rights of residents.
- Identify, investigate, and resolve residents’ problems and concerns.
- Empower residents to make informed choices.
- Work to monitor laws/policies to protect residents.
Long-term care ombudsmen serve residents in all counties in Kentucky. Visit our website!
The Kentucky State LTC Ombudsman Program is housed within the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass.The KLTCOP is funded in part by state and federal funding provided by the Department for Aging and Independent Living.