The objective of the National Ombudsman Resource Center is to support credible and effective Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs through the provision of technical assistance and training to state Ombudsmen and designated representatives of the Office (both paid and volunteer) and to state agencies on aging. The overall Center goals for the new grant cycle will be to: (1) enhance the skills, knowledge, and management capacity of State Long-Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman Programs to enable them to effectively respond to residents’ complaints and represent their interests on both an individual and systemic level; and (2) strengthen this Older Americans Act core program by highlighting innovative, effective approaches for providing LTC Ombudsman program services to long-term care facility residents, regardless of age. The work should also reflect ACL’s commitment to advancing equity, racial justice, and equal opportunity in all we do, including ensuring that people from underrepresented and underserved communities are at the table to inform our work.
To achieve these goals, the Center will be expected to:
Provide technical assistance, training, resources and referrals for LTC Ombudsman programs:
Provide training opportunities and training resources to LTC Ombudsman programs at the state and local levels including both in-person training opportunities and training in an accessible, user-friendly format (i.e. webinars, on-line modules) in order to meet the increasing demand for technical assistance and utilizing technology to enhance efficient use of Center funds;
Conduct on-going evaluation of these training opportunities;
Support the LTC Ombudsman programs’ efforts to recruit, train and manage volunteers for the program;
Provide technical assistance to LTC Ombudsman programs on matters related to operation of LTC Ombudsman programs and the issues experienced by residents of LTC congregate residential settings;
Improve LTC Ombudsman program effectiveness in meeting the needs of residents, including those in board and care, assisted living and similar residential settings, those supported through Medicaid waiver, managed care programs and rural and frontier areas.
Promote public awareness of the role of LTC Ombudsman programs:
Provide LTC Ombudsman program contact information for the residents, families, and others who seek to use LTC Ombudsman services;
Work cooperatively with organizations and agencies, including other ACL-funded resource centers, in order to maximize collaboration on areas of mutual benefit;
Highlight innovative, efficient and/or effective state policies, practices, and approaches in LTC Ombudsman program operations including issues that may be appropriate in rural and frontier areas.
Expected activities related to each of these goals include the following:
1. Utilize the ACL administered elder justice website (https://elderjustice.acl.gov/) for all final products developed by the Resource Center which include:
a) training modules and current resources to support Ombudsman program operations, such as on-line curriculum and interactive training modules;
b) resources and timely information to LTC Ombudsman programs, information to the public about the LTC Ombudsman program, including updated contact information for LTC Ombudsman programs at state and local levels and other relevant agencies.
2. Develop curriculum for purposes of designation of representatives of the office in accordance with ACL’s model training standards and findings of the Ombudsman program process evaluation. This training is to be available on-line and afford learners the ability to test their knowledge. General topics include:
a) The role of the Ombudsman;
b) The long-term care setting and the resident experience;
c) Authority of the Ombudsman;
d) Investigation techniques; including a specific module on investigation of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
3. Develop a series of curated continuing education webinars, which includes collaboration with other ACL Resource Centers that address the health, safety welfare and rights of residents and includes training to address emerging trends, such as, transitions to community settings, emergency preparation and response and the needs of specialized populations, i.e. dementia, significant mental illness and similar.
4. Support continued technical assistance to states and LTC Ombudsman programs related to adherence to the applicable federal regulation pertaining to the LTC Ombudsman program, 45 CFR 1324 and on matters related to operation of LTC Ombudsman programs and the issues experienced by residents of LTC facility settings.
5. Support continued training and technical assistance of NORS data collection.
6. Conduct special projects that assist LTC Ombudsman programs to address unique needs of individuals living in long-term care facilities, such as:
a) Collaboration with legal services to provide legal assistance to residents;
b) Strategies to address improper eviction in board and care settings;
c) As determined by NORS complaint data or expressed needs of state Ombudsmen.
7. Collect and analyze promising practices related to Ombudsman program response to responding to elder abuse, neglect and exploitation in long-term care to assist ACL in carrying out the requirement of Section 201(d)(3)(M) of the Older Americans Act.