What is an Ombudsman?
“Ombudsman” is a Swedish word meaning citizen representative. An Ombudsman in this program is an advocate or friend for residents of Long Term care facilities.
A Long Term Care Ombudsman serves as a mediator who seeks to resolve complaints made by or on behalf of people living in Long Term care facilities. The Ombudsman provides a way for people to voice their concerns and have their complaints addressed. The Ombudsman works with all parties to resolve a problem.
Who is a Volunteer Ombudsman?
In North Carolina, volunteer Ombudsmen are members of a county Nursing Home and/or Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee (CAC). All committee members are appointed by County Commissioners and must reside within the county in which they serve.
Nursing Home CACs are required to visit all nursing homes every three months. They serve as a supportive local committee, which helps to maintain the spirit of the Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights. Adult Care Home CACs are required to visit Adult Care Homes every three months and Family Care Homes annually. This committee helps to maintain the Adult Care Home Residents’ Bill of Rights. All CAC's keep County Commissioners informed of conditions and issues facing residents in Long Term care facilities. The CACs are legislatively mandated to:
Advocate for residents for Long Term care facilities.
Visit facilities to insure that the Residents’ Bill of Rights is being followed.
Work on the local level to resolve complaints.
All CAC visitation reports are available to view here.
CAC Essential Guide - This document is designed to serve as The Essential Guide to the selection, appointment and requirements for North Carolina's Long Term Care Community Advisory Committees (CACs) and explains their relationship with the NC Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.
Residents’ Bill of Rights
What is the Residents’ Bill of Rights?
Resident Rights are codified in both federal and state statute with the intent of protecting and promoting each resident’s civil, religious, and human rights while they reside in a licensed facility. It is important for everyone: resident, family, friend, staff, Ombudsman, volunteer Ombudsman, or citizen to understand these rights to assure that all work together toward the same goals: excellent quality of care and life for each individual who lives in a Long Term care facility.
How is the Ombudsman Program involved with Elder Abuse Prevention?
North Carolina’s Ombudsman Program receives funding for Elder Abuse Prevention. These funds are used to:
Provide public education and outreach services to identify and prevent abuse, neglect and exploitation of older individuals.
Provide for receipt of reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation, and the referral of complaints of older individuals to law enforcement agencies, public protective services agencies, licensing and certification agencies, ombudsman programs or
other protection and advocacy systems as appropriate.
We encourage you to visit the National Institute on Aging’s Elder Abuse AgePage. The page offers information and tips regarding elder abuse. For example:
Be attentive. Trouble sleeping, agitation, withdrawal, and unexplained bruises or burns may be signs of abuse.
Get details. If you suspect abuse or mistreatment, talk with the older person and try to learn what’s going on.
Find help. Contact Adult Protective Services —or call 911 or local police right away if an older person is in urgent danger.
Contact your local Department of Social Services for more information about Adult Protective Services or if you believe a disabled adult needs help.
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Long Term Care Housing Directory
What is the Long Term Care Housing Directory?
Land of Sky Regional Council’s Ombudsman Program staff develops the Long Term Care Housing Directory for Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania Counties. It is designed to help older and disabled people and their families navigate to find affordable Long Term care. It provides up-to-date information on residential settings that are available in our community. The directory includes:
Adult Care Homes
Family Care Homes
Multiunit Assisted Housing with Services
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)
Independent Living (Rental) Communities for Seniors and Disabled
Admission Agreements: Carefully Read Any Admission Agreements before Signing
If a facility requires an Arbitration Agreement to be signed as a condition of admission, the ombudsman program recommends contacting an attorney before signing or calling and discussing with one of the ombudsmen.
Below are links to facility inspection reports. Please review the following before going to the links:
The reports may not be up to date. For example a facility may have had a survey this month, but the results may not appear on the website for 2 or 3 months. You can call the facility and ask for the most recent report or visit the facility which is an optimal way to evaluate whether there would be a good match between the person who will be admitted and the facility.
Nursing home surveys (inspections) occur between and 9 and 15 months or sooner if there is a complaint which means there could be a gap of over a year since the last inspection. This applies to nursing homes that are Medicare/Medicaid certified.
Some nursing homes are state-licensed, but not Medicare/Medicaid certified. If these licensed-only homes have had a state fine imposed in the last 36 months it will be posted here. You can also type the name of a facility followed by ncdhhs surveys into a search engine to get the survey history.
Adult Care Homes (also referred to as Assisted Living Facilities) and Family Care Homes are reviewed by an Adult Care Home Specialist, Department of Social Services, at least quarterly; many go more frequently. Yearly inspections are done by the Department of Health Service Regulation (DHSR).
If you have any questions about a facility you can also contact the Ombudsman office at 828-251-6622.
Nursing Homes: To compare nursing home performance, go to this link and put in at least two nursing homes.
Adult Care Homes: To get information about adult care homes or family care homes go to this link.
Just Press Play Project
17 people attended the December 1, 2016, workshop for Just Press Play. Attendees included were staff from nursing homes, adult care homes and family care homes along with one Community Advisory Committee volunteer, a private sitter and a daughter of a resident at a family care home, plus someone from Hinds Feet Farms which serves people with Traumatic Brain Injuries. Cathy Hebert, RN, MSN, GCNS-BC, shared her knowledge based on implementation at the VA. Julia Gibson and Ruth Price, Ombudsmen, presented case studies, research, and administrative strategies.
The Just Press Play Coalition at Land of Sky is working to establish individualized music in every Long Term care facility in our area. Not only does personalized music increase a person’s awareness, it reduces the use of potentially damaging medications such as anti-psychotics and the aggressive behaviors that can lead to the use of these medications.
Since the showing of the documentary film Alive Inside in November 2014 in Asheville Just Press Play has raised $5800, received countless donations of iPods, CDs, headphones and more, provided 9 Grants to facilities in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties totaling $920 cash, $1125 in iTunes gift cards, and 45 new and used MP3 players. Donations continue to arrive including cash donations, iPods, iPhones, and CDs that will be used to get residents in Long Term care connected to their favorite music. We have already given Just Press Play grants to three nursing homes who are implementing personalized music. Here’s how you can help:
Donating and/or collecting gently used iPods, iPhones, over-ear headphones (Sony preferred), and original CDs. You can drop them off or mail them to Land of Sky, 339 New Leicester Highway, Suite 140, Asheville, NC 28806.
Making, delivering, and/or checking donation boxes in the region.
Spending time with a resident and compiling a personalized playlist.
Identifying corporate sponsors in your community to bring a Just Press Play program to a facility.
Making a financial contribution. The average cost of start- up for an individual is around $100 for the music, iPod and headphones. Make a tax deductible contribution payable to Land of Sky Regional Council and write in the memo line Just Press Play.