Mission and History of NHOA

Our Vision

Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass (NHOA) envisions a world where aging and disability come with value, ease, dignity, and hope.

Our Mission

NHOA’s mission is to demand the highest quality of care for long-term care residents through empowerment, support, education, and advocacy.

Our Goals

Ombudsman is a Swedish word for “advocate”. NHOA’s long-term care ombudsmen are independent advocates who:

  • Protect the rights of long-term care residents;
  • Identify, investigate and resolve residents’ concerns;
  • Empower residents to make informed choices;
  • Work to enact laws protecting older and disabled Kentuckians; and
  • Visit residents as often as possible.

Ombudsmen visit with residents of nursing homes, personal care homes, assisted living communities, and family care homes.

Our History

The Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass is an independent, nonprofit agency headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky. NHOA was founded in 1981 by citizens concerned about conditions in nursing homes. They organized to provide advocacy services to frail, vulnerable elders and people with disabilities using the federal Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program as the authorizing framework and model.

They assembled a volunteer Board of Directors, along with an Advisory Board of relevant professionals and a committee of nursing home residents. They recruited ombudsmen from the neighborhood of each nursing home to visit with residents and monitor the quality of care. From this beginning—four volunteer ombudsmen in four Lexington nursing homes—came the current agency.

Today, NHOA’s Bluegrass District Ombudsman Program is a nationally-recognized program serving nearly 7,000 long-term care residents in 17 central Kentucky counties. The Bluegrass Program employs a corps of 30 certified ombudsmen who visit residents, monitor the quality of care, and provide comprehensive advocacy services.

Since September 2014, Kentucky’s Department for Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) has contracted with NHOA to operate the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Sherry Culp, heads the statewide program and provides technical assistance to Kentucky’s 15 District Ombudsmen. She is assisted by two Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsmen.