How can you make a donation?
CHECK or MONEY ORDER: mail checks payable to NHOA to 3138 Custer Drive, Suite 110 Lexington, KY 40517.
CASH: bring cash donations into our office at 3138 Custer Drive, Suite 110, Lexington, KY 40517.
CREDIT CARD: visit us at www.ombuddy.org, click on the Donate Now button. Payment information is secure. Become a lifelong supporter by scheduling your donations for secure automatic monthly withdrawal.
PLANNED GIFTS & BEQUESTS: talk with your estate planner to find the best way to include NHOA in your will or in a lifetime gift or annuity. Gifts of cash, real estate, stocks & bonds and even personal property and life insurance can benefit NHOA after your death and lessen the tax burden on your heirs.
A MEMORIAL or HONOR: mark a special occasion or remember a loved one with an honor or memorial gift. Send it to 3138 Custer Drive, Suite 110, Lexington, KY 40517.
CHARITY DESIGNATION: Consider designating donations to the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency by listing the agency in obituaries. Call us at 859-277-2915 for envelopes and materials.
For information about volunteering, visit our website at www.ombuddy.org, or contact the agency directly.
The Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass, Inc. (NHOA) was founded in 1981 by citizens concerned about conditions in area nursing homes. They organized to provide advocacy services to frail, vulnerable elders using the Ombudsman Program as the authorizing framework and model. A volunteer Board of Directors was assembled, as was an Advisory Board of relevant professionals, and a committee of nursing home residents. Ombudsmen were recruited from the neighborhood of each nursing home to visit with residents and to 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 approximately 5,250 long-term care residents in 17 counties throughout the Bluegrass Region, with a corps of 30 certified ombudsmen who regularly visit residents and monitor the quality of care. Our program provides advocacy services free of charge to institutionalized and disabled residents using the Ombudsman Program model. All residents are visited regularly by an ombudsman who provides 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. Kentucky has 15 District Ombudsmen who coordinate ombudsmen services in each of the state's Area Development Districts. As the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Sherry Culp (NHOA's President) heads the statewide program and provides technical assistance to the district ombudsmen. Sherry is assisted by two Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsmen.
Any funds generated through the Good Giving Challenge would benefit the local Bluegrass District Ombudsman Program, not the statewide program, which is funded through a contract with Cabinet for Health and Family Services. For this reason, this profile focuses on NHOA's work within the Bluegrass Region.
An astounding percentage of nursing home residents do not have regular visitors! Sixty percent, to be exact!! In fact, residents are often forgotten and isolated.
For 35 years, NHOA has been protecting the frailest, most vulnerable citizens of the Bluegrass by providing advocates, known as ombudsmen, to VISIT long-term care residents regularly, MONITOR their CARE, and investigate and RESOLVE the CARE CONCERNS.
We serve more than 5,250 residents living in long-term care facilities in the Bluegrass District of Central Kentucky. Long-term care facilities include nursing homes, family care homes, and personal care homes.
You may have a loved one currently living in a facility or your loved one or you may be in need of nursing home care future. The reality is that long-term care is a plausible future need for all of us!!
In the Bluegrass Region alone, the number of people over 60 is expected to grow from 135,037 people in 2010 to 231,693 by 2030.
National researchers tell us the care residents receive will be better because an ombudsman is a regular, unannounced visitor.
As you read this, our ombudsmen are either visiting residents in a local nursing home or working to resolve a resident’s complaint. In a typical week, the complaints we address range from a person who was denied admission to their local nursing home because of age or disability to an elder who was held down and force fed his medicine when he dared to question the medication technician about his new pills (abuse).
HELP us to continue to be a familiar face for the resident and decrease the isolation as we monitor the quality of their care, resolve complaints, and put steps in place for prevention in the future and safeguard quality care!
Ombudsmen strive to identify problems at the earliest of stages in hopes of preventing escalating situations that lead to neglect and abuse. If a resident tells us or we suspect that they are experiencing a problem, but they are afraid to speak up because they fear retaliation, we encourage and empower them. Often residents will ask that we speak on their behalf. We meet with facility staff and negotiate solutions.
It costs approximately $95 per resident to provide ombudsman (advocacy) services to approximately 5,250 nursing home residents for a year.
Become a volunteer and/or donate to NHOA! HELP us to continue to be a familiar face for long-term care residents and decrease the isolation as we monitor their quality of care, resolve complaints, and put steps in place for prevention in the future and SAFEGUARD QUALITY CARE!
Very few of us are prepared for the long-term care experience. The system is complex; urgency forces decisions and confusion is common. NHOA also provides placement counseling. When someone needs to find a long-term care facility we provide written materials we created, lists of local facilities, counsel them on how to determine what type of facility is needed, how long-term care is paid for, what types of things to be cautious of when signing an admissions contract, and countless other important details they can't get anywhere else.
Through the Bluegrass District Ombudsman Program, NHOA provides an ombudsman, free of charge, to residents of long-term care facilities within the 17 counties of the Bluegrass.
NHOA’s mission is to improve the quality of life for residents in long-term care facilities. NHOA’s goals are to: protect the rights of nursing home residents; identify, investigate and work to resolve residents’ concerns; empower residents to make informed choices; monitor and work to enact laws protecting residents; provide nursing home placement counseling; educate the community and long-term care providers about the importance of quality care; seek out signs of abuse and neglect; and prevent future events from happening.
NHOA, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, is a free-standing non-profit and was founded in 1981 by citizens concerned about conditions in area nursing homes. Citizens organized to provide advocacy services to frail, vulnerable elders using the Ombudsman Program as the authorizing framework and model.
NHOA serves anyone in the general public, free of charge, who has questions, concerns or complaints about long term care. NHOA’s services are readily available to nursing home residents, their families, and friends as well as anyone in the general public with questions or in need of information about long-term care.
NHOA employs 26 part-time ombudsmen (om-buh dz-muhn) in our 17 county Bluegrass District. Ombudsman is a Swedish word for advocate. The Bluegrass District includes: Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Estill, Fayette, Franklin, Garrard, Harrison, Jessamine, Lincoln, Mercer, Madison, Nicholas, Powell, Scott, and Woodford Counties. NHOA’s ombudsmen staff work in the community where they live. Ombudsmen are often retired professionals who work part-time as an ombudsman because they care about the treatment and services that people in their community receive while living in long-term care institutions.
NHOA assigns an ombudsman to each and every resident in the 99 long-term care facilities in Central Kentucky. Sixty percent of long term care residents have no visitors, no one from outside the facility to check on them except their ombudsman. Ombudsmen develop relationships with residents. Ombudsmen monitor care in long-term care facilities by making regular unannounced visits. During these visits residents express, or the ombudsman observes, problems related to the lack of care or quality of care received in the healthcare facility. These problems or complaints are investigated by the ombudsman. The ombudsman works to resolve the problems by advocating for the resident through a specific problem-solving process, educating the staff, reporting abuses to state investigative agencies, and holding the facility accountable for providing quality care.
Often, quality care for residents begins with meeting their most basic needs--hydration, toileting care, dental care, medical care, personal hygiene, dietary and nutritional care, property protection, privacy, and more. For example, when the devoted daughter of Ms. Simms noticed that her mother’s usually cheerful personality was quickly changing and her mother seemed lethargic and confused, she began to be concerned. The daughter noticed each time she visited that the glass of water on her mother’s bedside table was full and untouched. She wondered how her mother, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, might be able to reach the water, much less remember to drink water. Ms. Simms’ daughter shared her concern with the ombudsman who met with them to address the issue of dehydration and consider solutions based on Ms. Simms’ rights. The ombudsman supported Ms. Simms at her mother’s plan of care conference by focusing the meeting on individual resident needs and maintaining that the resident’s nutrition and hydration needs were basic. During a follow-up visit, Ms. Simms’ daughter shared that she felt empowered to advocate for her mother’s right to be free from neglect, thanks to the ombudsman’s work. Her mother now consistently has water available and within reach at all times. Assistance with fluids is offered on a regular basis by nursing home staff. It seems unlikely that the simple task of offering water to keep residents hydrated is being forgotten, but this is a form of neglect that NHOA’s ombudsmen often observe and resole.
For individuals and families, such as the Simms’ Family, NHOA provides placement counseling. Typically, when a person is placed in a long-term care facility, they are unprepared for the process. They are rushed to make a decision and often feel overwhelmed. Additionally, 15% of the residents living in long-term care facilities are under the age of 65 and perhaps even more unprepared for the process due to early onset of illness, accidents, or disabilities. NHOA staff work with approximately 2,000 individuals and families each year who are trying to make placement in a long term care facility. NHOA staff counsel them about benefits, payment options, levels of care, admissions contracts, how to evaluate a nursing home and what to expect on move-in day. After residents move into a facility we visit them within the first two weeks of admission and begin educating them one-on-one about their rights and how to participate in assessments and care planning. Our ombudsmen work daily to ensure that residents’ voices are heard.
NHOA creates unbiased and clear booklets and provides the information for free to residents, families, and consumers at-large. NHOA’s From Admission to Care: Everything You Need to Know booklet is rated highest by families. The April 2013 edition of Reader’s Digest contained an article, “50 Secrets Your Mom’s Nursing Home Won’t Tell You.” The article featured advice from a dozen national experts on long-term care. NHOA’s From Admission to Care booklet, created and in use since 2010, includes all of the same advice shared by those experts. NHOA is proud to have provided clear, unbiased, accurate information to Central Kentuckians for 35 years.
NHOA provides professional in-service sessions to the staff of long-term care facilities. NHOA partners with local and national experts to create and provide ground breaking educational programs. NHOA is most proud of a successful partnership with Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center to create the first sexual assault prevention in-service program in the country for staff of long-term care facilities. NHOA also completed a diversity care training curriculum for facility staff in partnership with the Boulder County Colorado Area Agency on Aging and the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. NHOA’s most requested in-services for providers are Residents’ Rights and Abuse prevention/detection.
NHOA also has a Friendly Visitor Volunteer Program that matches long-term care residents with community volunteers. These volunteers visit their assigned resident on a regular basis. In addition to visiting residents, the Friendly Visitors are an extension of the ombudsman health advocacy services. They help the ombudsmen identify poor health care issues (including serious issues such as: the potential for falls, pressure ulcers, malnutrition, and dehydration) that cause serious decline in nursing home residents and are trained to seek out signs of abuse and neglect. If a Friendly Visitor suspects abuse or neglect of a resident, they are to report it to the Bluegrass District Ombudsman immediately.
In Fiscal Year 2015-2016, the Bluegrass District Ombudsman Program served nearly 7,000 residents of nursing homes, personal care homes, and family care homes. NHOA served a total of almost 10,000 residents and community members in the 17 county area of central Kentucky.
Specifically, between July. 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016:
NHOA provided information or consultation to individuals and families about nursing facility placement, care planning, and questions about rights, abuse, Medicare and Medicaid on more than 2,500 occasions.
NHOA assisted with Family Council sessions and Resident Council sessions on 437 occasions.
NHOA ombudsmen in the Bluegrass made 6,568 site visits to long-term care facilities to monitor care and advocate for residents.
NHOA ombudsmen identified, investigated, and worked to resolve 1,460 complaints.
Laura Clewett joined NHOA in May 2015 as Director of Fundraising and Administration. Her social work career has focused on working with seniors and people with physical, mental, and intellectual or developmental disabilities. From 2008 through 2015, she worked at the Bluegrass Area Agency on Aging & Independent Living in a variety of positions, including Consumer Directed Option Support Broker, Homecare Case Manager, and Aging & Disability Resource Center Specialist. She is a certified ombudsman and a Certified Social Worker in Kentucky. She has a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Chicago and a Master of Social Work from the University of Kentucky, with a concentration in Mental Health. As a graduate student, she participated in the Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education and received the Fay Friedman Scholarship Award from Bluegrass.org. Before becoming a social worker, she worked at The Council of State Governments in Lexington, KY as a writer/editor and researcher.
NHOA’s core work is the regular, unannounced visit of an ombudsman to each and every resident in Bluegrass area long-term care facilities. During these visits, residents express or the ombudsman observes problems related to the lack of care or quality of care received in the healthcare facility. These problems or complaints are investigated by the ombudsman. The ombudsman works to resolve the problems by advocating for the resident through a specific problem-solving process, educating the staff, reporting abuses to state investigative agencies, and holding the facility accountable for providing quality care. We respond to questions about the long-term care system; we provide individual and community education about long-term care; we consult with providers of long-term care services; we provide training to staff of facilities and to community members; and, we support residents and families as they work to resolve their problems on their own.
Goals for NHOA's Bluegrass ombudsmen include: meeting all new residents within the first two weeks of being admitted to a facility and discussing resident rights with these new residents, resolving at least 70% of complaints worked, and initiating activities to resolve problems residents experience (complaints) within two days of receiving/identifying the complaint. After being inspired by research which indicates that the first few weeks in a nursing home are extremely important to the overall experience, NHOA ombudsmen make meeting new residents and sharing rights materials a time sensitive priority. Each month, ombudsmen collect information about new admissions, meet with those residents, distribute and discuss rights materials, and document the encounter on monthly records and reports. We strive for high complaint resolution rates, but sometimes this is out of our control because complaints require a change in law. Resolution is documented for each complaint.
Our program’s longest-term measurable change is our complaint resolution rate. When an ombudsman receives or identifies a problem, then gains consent to address the problem, our one and only goal is to resolve the problem to the satisfaction of the resident or consumer. Primarily, we do not close a case until the problem is resolved. We strive for high complaint resolution rates, but sometimes this is out of our control. For example, a common complaint is lack of facility staff. Our agency cannot dictate how many staff members the facility should hire and unless lack of staff causes a significant injury to a resident, the enforcement agencies do not respond. Many of our “not resolved” cases are due to a lack of staff. Additionally, by giving the residents an outlet where they can air their grievances, the residents gain a sense of empowerment, can be more involved in healthcare decision making, and experience a higher quality of life.
NHOA’s ombudsman program services are monitored and evaluated by the Bluegrass District Ombudsman and the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The procedure for corrective action and follow-up following internal monitoring includes further investigation of the problem, identification of the problem, development of corrective steps, corrective action implementation, and reevaluation.
In July of 2009, at our strategic planning session, the board of directors decided to rejuvenate our Friendly Visitor Volunteer Program.
During the summer of 2010, NHOA’s Friendly Visitor Volunteer Program was redesigned and rebuilt by the staff and Board of Directors. The program quickly grew to 55 trained volunteers who have spent nearly 1,000 hours visiting more than 88 residents in 25 facilities.
Nearly 60% of long-term care residents have no visitors. That means in NHOA’s service area, 3,137 long-term care residents are without social interaction with people from their communities. Although moving into a long-term care facility may meet their health care needs, older adults still have important social and emotional needs. Moving to a new place is a big change for anyone. But leaving behind a lifetime of family, friends, and neighbors can be very lonely for an older adult in poor health. That’s why long-term care residents need NHOA’s Friendly Visitor volunteers to be their friends.
The role of a Friendly Visitor:
· Help resident combat boredom
· Share their energy with resident
· Engage in resident’s hobbies
· Listen to resident’s stories
· Offer light-heartedness
· Validate the resident’s worth
· Give the resident a new perspective
· Enjoy the resident as an individual
· Be a loving, supportive, and reliable friend
Many residents feel they have lost their right to make decisions for themselves. Friendly Visitors are the bridge between isolation and community; they are the catalyst in helping the resident maintain vitality and a sense of self-worth.
The Friendly Visitor Program has four measurable outcomes:
· How many times the volunteer visits their assigned resident. The volunteer is responsible for turning in a monthly time sheet with visit details.
· How many hours the volunteer spends with assigned resident. This information is also listed on the monthly time sheet.
· How many resident complaints were referred to the ombudsman from the volunteer on behalf of the resident. When a volunteer detects a possible issue with a resident, they inform NHOA’s Bluegrass District Ombudsman about the issue. The ombudsman assigned to that particular facility will then be informed of the issue and talk with the resident. This data is entered into a state-mandated data system, Ombudsmanager, which manages the data.
· How satisfied the resident is with their volunteer. A post survey is given to residents. The survey measures things that are known to improve mental and/or emotional well-being.
The Bluegrass District Ombudsman trains Friendly Visitors in activities and responsibilities including communication skills; how to identify the different types of abuse, neglect and exploitation; indicators of abuse; how to handle concerns; and information on the aging process and life in a long-term care facility. Friendly Visitors are accompanied by an ombudsman on their first visit with a resident. If, during a visit, the volunteer sees something that concerns them, they report it to the Bluegrass District Ombudsman immediately. The volunteers report directly to the Bluegrass District Omudsman and they receive on-going supervision, support, and training.
Meet Atanas Golev, a great young man who has been a Friendly
Visitor Volunteer with the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency since 2011. Atanas is
a student at the University of Kentucky and found our Friendly Visitor Program
through U.K.’s volunteer website. When he started volunteering as a Friendly
Visitor he was matched with a 96 year old gentleman living at Mayfair Manor.
The two of them spent nearly two years building a relationship, talking sports,
watching games and discussing what was going on in the world. When his friend moved away Atanas asked to
be placed with someone living at Richmond Place, a nursing home closer to his
home. The Ombudsman at Richmond Place, Sue Landis, matched him with Dwayne
Harvey. It is a match made in heaven. Mr. Harvey spent his adult life as a
university professor and is a huge U.K. fan. They spend hours together,
swapping stories, watching sports and discussing the newspaper. Atanas says he
receives more from his friendship with Mr. Harvey than he gives.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507