The Administration for Community Living (ACL) awarded a supplemental grant in the amount of $60,000 to the National Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) to address a number of emerging issues. NORC provides significant training, technical assistance and program management expertise for state and local long-term care ombudsman (LTCO) programs.
LTCO programs play a critical role in assisting residents in nursing homes, as well as their families, to understand their rights and demand quality services. This supplemental grant will enable LTCO programs to have the right resources needed to help educate residents and families on the revised set of regulations that govern the more than 15,000 long-term care facilities (nursing homes) that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
This first comprehensive update since 1991, aims to implement a number of important safeguards that have been identified by resident advocates and other stakeholders, and include additional protections required by the Affordable Care Act.
Significant changes finalized in this rule include:
- Strengthening the rights of long-term care facility residents, including prohibiting the use of pre-dispute binding arbitration agreements.
- Ensuring that long-term care facility staff members are properly trained on caring for residents with dementia and in preventing elder abuse.
- Ensuring that long-term care facilities take into consideration the health of residents when making decisions on the kinds and levels of staffing a facility needs to properly take care of its residents.
- Ensuring that staff members have the right skill sets and competencies to provide person-centered care to residents. The care plans developed for residents will take into consideration their goals of care and preferences.
- Improving care planning, including discharge planning for all residents with involvement of the facility’s interdisciplinary team and consideration of the caregiver’s capacity, giving residents information they need for follow-up after discharge, and ensuring that instructions are transmitted to any receiving facilities or services.
- Allowing dietitians and therapy providers the authority to write orders in their areas of expertise when a physician delegates the responsibility and state licensing laws allow.
- Updating the long-term care facility’s infection prevention and control program, including requiring an infection prevention and control officer and an antibiotic stewardship program that includes antibiotic use protocols and a system to monitor antibiotic use.
The supplemental grant will specifically support states’ LTCO programs to help people understand the significance and impact of the revised nursing home regulations; as they assist people living in nursing homes in receiving quality care, and to promote their rights and access to supports and services including information on how to transition out of nursing homes.
Lastly, it provides funding to support development of training standards to strengthen the effectiveness of states’ LTCO programs. Visit this page for more information on the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program.