Celebrating Residents’ Rights
Residents around the Commonwealth celebrated Residents’ Rights Month in a variety of ways. Thank you to all of the ombudsman program representatives who helped residents learn more about their rights and amplify their voices.
Learn more about residents’ rights by visiting our website.
This year’s Residents’ Rights Month theme – Amplify Our Voices – emphasized a community of long-term care residents coming together to make their voices heard. Amplifying your voice means being outspoken about your preferences and choices and sharing who you are and your experiences. Thank you for sharing with us! Residents’ voices are the most important at the decision-making table – your story deserves to be told.
The Buffalo Trace LTC Ombudsman Program’s Resident Forum was on October 6. The event was held at the Maysville Community Technical College Field Auditorium and started with a breakfast social, live music and resource fair.
Buffalo Trace District LTC Ombudsman Amanda Grooms coordinated the event which included residents receiving a proclamation of Residents’ Rights Month made by Governor Andy Beshear and presented by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander. Nine residents took the stage to explain what long-term care means to them. The event closed with a musical performance and feedback from the residents in the audience.
Residents’ Rights Month is an opportunity to focus on and celebrate the dignity and rights of every individual receiving long-term services and supports.
Martin Co. Judge Executive Dr. Lon Lafferty declared October Residents’ Rights Month. Big Sandy District LTC Ombudsman Teresa Conley serves Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, Martin, and Pike counties.
FIVCO District LTC Ombudsman Amanada Hamilton pictured above with Louisa Mayor Harold Slone and Jordan Center administrator David McKenzie. Mayor Harold Slone visited the facility to share his proclamation of October as Residents’ Rights Month. Residents enjoyed visiting with the mayor and celebrating.
NHOA used social media to help spread information about Residents’ Rights Month. Follow us on social media.
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton and Council presented Lexington Premier Nursing & Rehab residents with a proclamation designating October as Residents’ Rights Month!
Resident Council President David attended with residents Timmy and Carol to accept the proclamation on behalf of Lexington’s long-term care residents. Residents were accompanied by Kim Hensley and Katie Barrett of the Activities Department (not pictured). Ombudsmen Sue Landis and Denise Wells were also present.
The Lincoln Trail LTC Ombudsman Program helped residents learn more about their rights by leading residents through resident trivia games.
Beverly Broadus, Lincoln Trail District LTC Ombudsman (pictured above), said residents reported loving the game and having fun while learning.
Eleven residents played the rights trivia game at a facility in Elizabethtown. Thank you to Activities Director Lauren Eaton who helped coordinate the event.
Each resident received a swag bag prepared by Beverly.
Learning while having fun at Helmwood Healthcare!
Happy Residents’ Rights Month! Watch NHOA share how residents & families can exercise their rights. Thanks WKYT!
During this month, Long-Term Care Ombudsmen also give special recognition to the work of thousands of individuals who collaborate daily to help assure dignity, privacy and other basic human rights are maintained as an integral part of the lives of residents living in long-term care settings.
Comment on Proposed Rule on Nursing Home Minimum Staffing Standard by November 6, 2023
On September 6, 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that proposed a minimum staffing standard in nursing homes. While resident advocates support a minimum staffing standard, the proposed staffing standard does not go far enough to protect nursing home residents.
The NPRM is now in the 60-day comment period, and comments are due on 11/6/2023. It will be critical that CMS hears from you that this rule needs to be stronger. In addition to the minimum staffing requirement, there are other provisions in the NPRM, including requiring every nursing home to have a registered nurse on staff twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, updated requirements on facility assessments, and provisions on how Medicaid dollars are spent on nursing home care.
The Consumer Voice provides helpful information on how to comment such as links and talking points that can be copy/pasted into your comments.
Suggested talking points
In order to protect nursing home residents from harm and to ensure a high quality of life:
- Require nursing homes to meet a total staffing standard of 4.2 hours per resident day (HPRD) within the next two years. This total should be made up of at least:
1.4 HPRD of total licensed nurse care, composed of at least .75 HPRD of registered nurse (RN) care; and 2.80 HPRD of certified nurse aide care (CNA).
RNs, LPNs/LVNs, and CNAs each have important roles in the provision of quality care to residents. A staffing standard should address total direct care for residents. These staffing levels are supported by decades of research and by the 2023 Staffing Study commissioned by CMS last year.
These additional requirements are financially feasible because the costs would be less than five percent of the over $100 billion that nursing homes receive from Medicare and Medicaid annually.
- No waivers to facilities that cannot provide a level of care that ensures resident safety.
- Restrict admissions when minimum staffing standards are not met.
- Reduce the timeframes for implementation, particularly in rural areas, and require phased-in compliance. The 2023 Staffing Study found that staffing in rural homes is almost identical to staffing in homes located in urban areas. Residents in rural homes should not suffer for years before the staffing standard is implemented.
Facility-wide Wireless Internet Access (Wi-Fi)
According to a memo released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on September 25 regarding the Civil Money Penalty Reinvestment Program (CMPRP) Revisions, CMS believes that all nursing home residents should have access to the same comforts or conveniences that exist in a typical household. One of these standards is broadband, wireless internet access.
CMS is assessing if there are nursing homes without broadband, facility-wide, wireless internet (Wi-Fi) access for residents. In the memo CMS requests that any nursing home that does not have facility-wide Wi-Fi accessible to all residents complete a form C attachment to the memo and submit the form to CMPfirstname.lastname@example.org no later than December 22, 2023. CMS says they will then assess the number of facilities without this capability and the reasons for the lack of access to determine if Civil Monetary Penalty funds can be used for a project to help address these issues.
A Family of Volunteers that Span Three Generations!
Advocacy runs in the family for the Northern Kentucky LTC Ombudsman Program. Thelma Rachford (who will turn 99 years old this year) was a Friendly Visitor volunteer for 12 years until retiring last year and entering into a long-term care facility herself. Thelma continues to embody the spirit of the program and visits other residents in the facility she now calls home.
Thelma’s daughter, Pam Pangburn (who was previously the district ombudsman in the Northern Kentucky) worked for the program as a Certified ombudsman and now a Friendly Visitor volunteer for over 13 years. When Pam isn’t visiting with residents and taking care of her mother, she is spending time actively working on the Elder Maltreatment Alliance and the Council on Aging.
Thelma and her daughter, Pam, recruited Pam’s daughter, Denise Henson, as a Friendly Visitor in 2020. Denise is a special education teacher at a local high school and enjoys visiting with residents at the nursing home. Denise continues the family legacy of advocacy for LTC residents.
District ombudsman, Bethany Breckel, says she’s grateful to have this family of advocates in the program and these women have been a joy to the nursing home residents that they’ve served.
Pictured above: Thelma Rachford (bottom left), her daughter: Pam Pangburn (top left), and granddaughter Denise Henson (top right).
Thank you to our staff and volunteers.
You make a difference!
Community Education and Engagement
Sherry Culp, KY State LTC Ombudsman, attended the 5th regional town hall event of the Kentucky Judicial Commission on Mental Health in Lexington. Sherry spoke about challenges residents sometimes experience with mental health, substance use disorders, and the judicial system.
The 3 future town hall meetings are in the following locations from 6-8 p.m. local time.
Nov. 8 – Louisville
Kentucky International Convention Center
221 S. 4th St.
Nov. 15 – Pikeville
Appalachian Wireless Arena
126 Main St.
Nov. 29 – Bowling Green
Sloan Convention Center
1021 Wilkinson Trace
Those who are unable to attend but want to share experiences navigating the courts or the behavioral health system can do so by emailing JCMH@kycourts.net
NHOA Executive Director Denise Wells shared residents’ rights and levels of long-term care in Kentucky information with attendees of the University of Kentucky Elder Care Lunch and Learn.
If you are hosting a community event, please invite your local ombudsman program. For a full listing of all District LTC Ombudsman Programs and the counties they serve, visit our website.
Don’t miss the Aging Well in Kentucky Health Fair by the Bluegrass and KIPDA Area Agency on Aging.
The Aging Well in KY Health Fair will be on Thursday, November 9, 2023. from 10:00 A.M until 2:00 P.M at the Graefenburg Baptist Church, located at 11288 Frankfort Rd. Waddy, KY 40076. For more information about the health fair contact Regina Goodman.
The event includes a vaccine clinic for those 60 years of age or older who are interested in receiving the Covid-19, Flu, and/or Pneumonia vaccine. Information and resources from dozens of aging service programs like the Bluegrass LTC Ombudsman Program will be available. Be sure to stop by and visit Bluegrass District LTC Ombudsman Alice Rearick at the event.
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 Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health in Nursing Facilities (COE-NF) was established by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). It provides mental health and substance use training, customized technical assistance and resources to certified Medicare and Medicaid nursing facility staff who care for residents with a variety of behavioral health conditions at absolutely no cost.
AARP Long-Term Services & Supports Scorecard.
The Kentucky Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers can be viewed here.
The Scorecard is a compilation of state data and analysis based on a new vision of a high-performing state long-term services and supports (LTSS) system. Released every three years, the Scorecard uses data from a wide range of sources to describe how state LTSS systems are performing. AARP’s intention is to identify strengths and weaknesses in state systems to spark and inform the development of actionable solutions at the local, state, and national levels.
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.