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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

December 14, 2011

Consumer Voice Advocates Send Strong Message about Long-Term Care Pharmacists

Thanks to all of you around the country who signed on to the Consumer Voice’s group letter and sent individual comments in support of CMS regulations regarding long-term care pharmacists.   The regulations would prohibit consultant pharmacists from having connections to long-term care pharmacies or pharmaceutical companies, both of which have been associated with inappropriate prescribing and illegal marketing of antipsychotic drugs in some nursing homes. 

Over 93 groups, including other national organizations, added their names to the Consumer Voice letter, while more than 87 individuals responded to our request for comments. The result was a clear and loud message that long-term care pharmacists need to be independent and not subject to conflicts of interest that can harm nursing home residents.

To learn more about this issue, visit the Consumer Voice's website.

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First Facebook Chat Huge Success! Join us for the next chat on Friday, January 6th!

The Consumer Voice held its first “Facebook First Friday” on December 2nd, with much success! Hundreds of comments were posted, creating an exciting and informative dialogue about several long-term care issues. View the chat history on our page at: http://www.facebook.com/theconsumervoice.

Facebook First Friday is an opportunity for the long-term care advocacy community, and consumers, to come together through social media to discuss hot topics and share experiences and tips to advance quality care. Hosted by the Consumer Voice on the first Friday of every month from 9am – 3pm ET, this event is open for any questions or comments the public would like to share on our wall – and the Consumer Voice also posts questions and polls throughout the day to spur discussion. As an incentive for participation, the Consumer Voice awards at least one individual “best comment” with a prize that changes monthly. The chat dialogue will remain on our Facebook page indefinitely – and a summary is posted within a week (read the summary from our first chat on our website).

Join us for our next chat on Friday, January 6th – we’ll cover a number of topics, with a focus on Culture Change!

What people are saying about Facebook First Friday…

“Facebook First Friday is a great idea! The Ohio Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman thanks you for drawing attention to the important issue of quality long-term care. We're enjoying reading today's comments.”

“This IS a great idea! The Florida Ombudsman Program also agrees with Ohio and thank you for setting this up and everyone's comments. We're looking forward to reading more about what people have to say on these important advocacy issues.”

“Congratulations! Great way to spread the word and gain understanding and support…Oregon is so proud of their Statewide Long Term Care Ombudsmen and the work being done across the State, we are happy to be invited to participate on your new Facebook page to help meet the growing need of help and understanding in this area. Thank you National Consumer Voice for all you have done and are doing.” -Teena Ainslie, Chair, Long Term Care Advisory Committee, Oregon

“The nation’s leading organization advocating on behalf of consumers in the long term care arena is holding a day-long live-chat on Facebook all about one of ChangingAging.org’s favorite topics — Long Term Care Ombudsmen...Starting this Friday, The Consumers Voice is going to host monthly “First Friday” live-chats on its new official Facebook fan page at www.Facebook.com/ConsumerVoice. If you haven’t already, visit their page and “Like” them!”

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Dementia without Drugs: A Better Way for Long-Term Care Facilities

On October 27, 2011, Ombudsman Services of San Mateo and the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform hosted 370 people from across the health care spectrum at a full day symposium on the topic of “Dementia without Drugs.”  

Tippy Irwin, Executive Director of Ombudsman Services of San Mateo County, wrote this summary of the event:

Our three keynote speakers presented on different aspects of the overuse of psychotropic medication for the treatment of dementia care. Tony Chicotel, Esq from California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform spoke from the legal perspective, presenting on the legal liabilities of prescribing psychotropics without the consent of the client, and the dangers of prescribing drugs for off label usage. Christopher Cherney, an administrator of a nursing home in Bay Area County, spoke about the need for the state licensing agency to fulfill its role in ensuring that informed consent is indeed obtained when required. 

Of special note was that we had three representatives from our local CMS office in the audience listening to a facility administrator virtually begging them to ensure that the letter of the law is enforced! Tena Alonzo was the third speaker. Tena is co-Director of Palliative Care for Advanced Dementia from the Beatitudes Campus in Phoenix, Arizona. She painted a picture for the attendees with her stories and her alternative approaches to behavioral issues. She was riveting in her presentation. We believe that those who attended left with a fistful of ideas of how to implement alternative approaches. In fact, we have already gotten feedback from some facilities that changes are happening. 

This event, which was the vision of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Services of Ventura County, was the third in a series in California. In all, approximately 1,000 people have participated.

 For the power point presentation from the session, go to http://www.ossmc.org and select the “Events” tab.

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Resident Call Series is a Success!

This fall, the Consumer Voice hosted its third annual national conference call series exclusively for residents of nursing homes.   The call topics were developed by an advisory council made up of nursing home residents, and call speakers included resident experts and other experts in the field. The series provided hundreds of residents across the country with the education and resources to become empowered advocates for quality care and quality of life, both for themselves and for their peers who may lack the capacity to self-advocate, and residents were also able to share their experiences and ask questions at the end of each call.

The call topics this year included: Advocacy Basics for Residents of Nursing homes and Resident Directed Care. In the first call, residents were given a basic overview of Residents’ Rights under federal law, the role of the long-term care ombudsman and ways to be involved in advocating for quality of care and life in a nursing home. The second call provided basic information for residents looking to be their own health care advocate and included information on individualized care planning and other ways residents can be active participants in their health and care.

Click here to access call agendas, speaker biographies, factsheets and call recordings for the 2011 resident call series as well as information on previous resident conference call series. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Alia Murphy, program and development assistant, at amurphy@theconsumervoice.org.

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About The Gazette

The Gazette is a weekly e-newsletter, published by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care and the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. If you do not wish to continue receiving this publication, please unsubscribe. Your contributions and comments are welcome and should be sent to swells@theconsumervoice.org. Copyright © 2011.

The Consumer Voice is the leading national voice representing consumers in issues related to long-term care, helping to ensure that consumers are empowered to advocate for themselves. We are a primary source of information and tools for consumers, families, caregivers, advocates and ombudsmen to help ensure quality care for the individual. The Consumer Voice's mission is to represent consumers at the national level for quality long-term care, services and supports.

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