ACL recently awarded a five year cooperative agreement to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care to operate the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC).
NORC will use the over $500,000 per year award to continue to provide technical assistance and training to the 53 State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs and their statewide networks of 517 local Ombudsman entities. The resource center seeks to enhance the skills, knowledge, and management capacity of Ombudsman programs to enable them to effectively respond to residents’ complaints, to represent their interests on a systemic level, and to strengthen the program by highlighting innovative and effective service delivery approaches.
NORC will achieve these goals by:
- Creating online training courses on Ombudsman program fundamentals to prepare new staff & volunteers joining the program;
- Continuing education opportunities to address high priority complaint trends (for example, education on strategies to address improper evictions in residential care communities);
- Promoting Ombudsman program collaboration with legal services to support resident access to legal assistance, including by developing training;
- Supporting efforts by Ombudsman programs to increase access to program services for residents living in rural and frontier areas; and
- Assisting Ombudsman programs in understanding equity and racial justice in long-term services and settings.
During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, NORC moved quickly to support Ombudsman programs across the country by providing up-to-date training, technical assistance, and “grab and go” Recovery and Reentry Resources to support Ombudsman programs as they provided services remotely and then began to re-enter long-term care facilities. NORC also provided a free four-part training series, Understanding Trauma and Ensuring Person-Centered Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic, for family members of individuals living in long-term care facilities, facility administrators, and direct care staff. In addition, NORC has provided training on Cultural and Linguistic Competence and Ombudsman programs.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs work to resolve problems related to the health, safety, welfare, and rights of individuals who live in LTC facilities, such as nursing homes, board and care and assisted living facilities, and other residential care communities. Ombudsman programs promote policies and consumer protections to improve long-term services and supports at the facility, local, state, and national levels.