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Congratulations to Consumer Voice
and all activists, advocates, volunteers, ombudsmen, residents and caregivers who have championed long-term care consumer rights for 40 years.
- Mary Ellen Jacobs, RN, CCM and Graceful Seniors, LLC

January 20, 2015

Older Americans Act Reauthorization Bill Introduced in Congress

Great news - bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Older Americans Act has been reintroduced in the 114th Congress already! The Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2015*, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate today by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), would update and strengthen the current Older Americans Act (OAA) law. The OAA authorizes programs and funding to benefit individuals aged 60 years or older in each state, including services such as the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, home and community-based services, nutritional and transportation programs, legal services, and many others.

The OAA Reauthorization Act of 2015 would not only reauthorize these programs and services - which is critical for ensuring their continuation in the future - but also improve upon current law. For example, it includes provisions to strengthen the effectiveness of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and helps take a step towards better ensuring quality home care by calling for the development of a consumer-friendly tool to assist individuals in choosing home and community-based services. You can read Consumer Voice's press release on the bill here. The text of the bill can be read here and a short summary is also available to view here. To learn more about the Older Americans Act, you can view our webpage on it here.

*Consumer Voice will share the bill number of this legislation with individuals in our network when it is announced

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White House Conference on Aging to Hold Regional Forums

The 2015 White House Conference on Aging has announced a series of regional forums to solicit input on key issues affecting older Americans.  Co-sponsored by AARP and in coordination with the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations of which Consumer Voice is a member,  the regional forums will be held in:

  • Tampa, FL - February 19
  • Phoenix, AZ - March 31
  • Seattle, WA - April 9
  • Cleveland, OH - April 27
  • Boston, MA - May 28
Although each forum will be broadcast via live webcast, participation in the forums is by invitation only.  Topics to be addressed include:  ensuring retirement security, promoting health aging, providing long-term services and support, and protecting older Americans from financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect.  

Consumer Voice will share additional information as it becomes available.  To learn more about the White House Conference on Aging, go to www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov.

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Free Webinar for Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Register Today!

LGBT-Affirming Intake:  Asking Questions about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Thursday, February 19, 2015
3:00- 4:00 EST

Join The National Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) for this opportunity to hear from Dr. Tim R. Johnston of SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) in a webinar focused on how to ask older adults demographic questions related to sexual orientation and gender identity. The webinar will begin with a discussion of how to have respectful and affirming conversations with older adults that may identify as LGBT. Next, we will discuss tips for asking LGBT related demographic questions in general intake interviews. Finally, Dr. Johnston will answer common questions and concerns related to these questions, and provide advice for supporting staff members who are responsible for conducting these interviews. The overall goal is to increase comfort with these questions, as well as to give participants the skills to support others in acquiring this important information.

  • Learn practical tips from experts regarding how to ask sexual orientation and gender identity questions
  • Understand why these questions are important for all service organizations
  • Learn the nuances of asking these questions to older adults
  • Learn how to respectfully ask and answer questions that arise in interviews

This webinar is free and open to state and local long-term care ombudsmen. Registration is limited.  To maximize participation, we ask that individuals from the same organization share a phone line and only register one person.

Register Today!

Can’t make this webinar? Slides and resources will be posted on the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center website.

Questions? Contact us at ombudcenter@theconsumervoice.org.

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Study Analyzes Relationship between Missed Care and Incidence of UTI in Nursing Homes

A recent study published in Geriatric Nursing looked at the relationship between missed (omitted) nursing care in nursing homes and the incidence of urinary tract infections (UTI) among residents.  In an analysis of New Jersey nurse survey data and data from Nursing Home Compare, the study found that of the 12 categories of reported missed care activities, seven categories of missed care were significantly correlated with UTI.  Failure to administer medications on time and failure to provide adequate patient surveillance explained 40% of the variance in the percent of residents with UTI.  Access the full study here.

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Award to be Given for Most Staffing Postcards Collected

As part of our Nursing Home Staffing Campaign, we will be awarding a $100 gift card to the person who gathers and submits to us the most signed staffing postcards by January 31.  There is still time to obtain more signatures.  To order postcards, contact Amanda Celetano at aceletano@theconsumervoice.org or 202-332-2275, ext. 221.

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Consumer Voice Submits Comments Regarding Supportive Housing and Services for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities

Consumer Voice recently submitted comments on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed rules regarding Supportive Housing and Services for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities.  Comments focused on the new regulations for Service Coordinators in the Multifamily Housing program and the Assisted Living Conversion program.  A service coordinator is a social service staff person hired or contracted by the housing development's owner or management company. The service coordinator is responsible for assuring that elderly residents, especially those who are frail or at risk, and those non-elderly residents with disabilities are linked to the specific supportive services they need to continue living independently in that housing development.

Consumer Voice’s comments called for explicitly including problem resolution and advocacy as defined duties for coordinators and requiring them to receive a minimum number of hours of initial training and continuing education.  In addition, we supported promulgating rules for the Assisted Living Conversion program in order to create greater certainty and predictability for housing owners who are part of the assisted living conversion program. Currently, the program is operated through Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs). Consumer Voice believes that regulations would provide increased stability that would encourage more owners to participate in the assisted living program, making affordable assisted living facilities more available. To read our comments, click here.

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Lawsuit in Tennessee Alleges Misuse of Antipsychotic Drugs

In Greeneville, Tennessee, a wrongful death civil lawsuit has been filed against a nursing home and several other defendants alleging medical battery and negligence by the nursing home resulting in the suffering and eventual death of an elderly dementia patient.  The suit, brought by the patient's daughter, alleges that the patient was administered antipsychotic drugs that were inappropriate for someone with dementia.  The lawsuit also alleges that the defendant failed to obtain informed consent for the treatment from the patient's daughter, the person designated as the Healthcare Power-of-Attorney.  The plaintiff is being represented by the national AARP Foundation Litigation. In a statement from AARP on January 7th, Kelly Bagby stated: "It is my belief that this litigation will raise awareness about the unnecessary use of chemical restraints in nursing facilities and the need for physicians to have meaningful discussions about the side effects and alternatives to these powerful drugs."  For more information, read the article in the Greeneville Sun.

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Consumer Voice Calendar is Great for the New Year

Buy now for only $14!

The Consumer Voice  has created a unique and one-of-a-kind 2015 calendar.  The calendar makes great gifts to show your appreciation to friends, family, residents, staff members, volunteers, co-workers and anyone else who shares your passion for quality care and supports residents' rights.  The 12-month calendar (beginning January 2015) supports the Consumer Voice's "Better Staffing: The Key to Better Care" campaign with photos, quotes, poems and artwork from long-term care consumers and staff members.  The focus of the calendar is better staffing with resident comments centering around what staffing means to them, how staff members have helped them, and how staffing can be improved in their facility; plus special focus on nursing home regulations that highlight quality care.

*Get the calendar for only $10 when you purchase a Consumer Voice membership.  More information here!

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Rule Giving Home Care Workers Wage Protections Struck Down

A judge has ordered that new Department of Labor (DoL) rule that would have given home care workers minimum wage and overtime protections cannot be implemented. The regulations would have extended basic labor protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act rule to more than 2 million home care workers.  Under the current rule home care workers are considered “companions” and therefore not protected by the FLSA. The rule was to have gone into effect January 1st of this year. In his decision, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled that the DoL does not have the authority to change the definition of companionship and that this must be done legislatively. The DoL strongly disagrees with this ruling and is considering its legal options.

Consumer Voice supported and still supports the Department of Labor rule.  According to Robyn Grant, Consumer Voice’s Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, the organization is disturbed by this decision because it denies basic rights to workers and is critical to enhancing the quality of long-term services and supports. Grant said, “Providing home care workers with minimum wage and overtime protections will result in better quality care for consumers by attracting additional workers to the job; reducing the turnover rate in the profession; and enhancing the overall quality and professionalism of this ever-growing workforce. Consumer Voice will continue its advocacy around this rule that would benefit both consumers and workers.”

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In this Issue

Older Americans Act Reauthorization Bill Introduced in Congress

White House Conference on Aging to Hold Regional Forums

Free Webinar for Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Study Analyzes Relationship between Missed Care and Incidence of UTI in Nursing hOmes

Award to Be Given for Most Staffing Postcards Collected

Consumer Voice Submits Comments Regarding Supportive Housing and Services for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities

Lawsuit in Tennessee Alleges Misuse of Antipsychotic Drugs

Consumer Voice Calendar is Great for the New Year!

Rule Giving Home Care Workers Wage Protections Struck Down

4.1 It CAN Be Done!

As part of our nursing home staffing campaign, Better Staffing: The Key to Better Care, Consumer Voice is advocating for a minimum of 4.1 hours of nursing care per resident per day.  To show your support of this campaign, individuals can send us a photo with the slogan "4.1 - It CAN Be Done" by tweeting us pictures @ConsumerVoices, posting on our Facebook or emailing your photos to info@theconsumervoice.org.  Get the word out and encourage consumers to participate by sending in their photos too! 

You can join the Better Staffing: The Key to Better Care campaign, learn more about the campaign's goals, access the campaign advocacy toolkit, and take action at: www.theconsumervoice.org/betterstaffing

Calendar of Events

Thursday, January 22: Abuse in Later Life: An Overview, 2:00pm EST, Module One of a five-part webinar series

Thursday, February 5: Forming the Relationship with Your Client: Client communication, interview skills, and confidentiality/mandatory reporting concerns, 2:00pm EST, Module Two of a five-part webinar series

Thursday, February 12: How to Craft an Effective Advocacy Message, Advocacy skills training webinar from the Consumer Voice

Thursday, April 30: Delivering Your Message in Person: The Nuts and Bolts of Meeting with a Key Decision Maker, Advocacy skills training webinar from the Consumer Voice

Tuesday, June 30: Delivering Your Message: Utilizing Both Traditional Approaches and Social Media, Advocacy skills training webinar from the Consumer Voice

Thursday, August 27: How to Grow, Support, and Activate Your Network, Advocacy skills training webinar from the Consumer Voice

Now is a Great Time to Join the Consumer Voice

Here are a few reasons why you should join as a member:

  1. Most organizations are raising their membership fees, but we have either kept ours very low or we have reduced them for seniors and for long-term care professionals.  We want you to join us!
  2. We are enhancing our benefits and will make special members-only offers throughout the year.
  3. We also have special offers for only a small added contribution.
But most of all, we are making progress in advocating for the rights and well-being of all long-term care consumers.  This is occurring despite great political and economic pressures.  The source of our capabilities is the membership and support of people like you and many partner organizations.

By purchasing a membership now, you support Consumer Voice and the movement advocating for the rights and well-being of everyone who now or in the future depends upon long-term care.

Support Consumer Voice While You Shop Online

You can now support Consumer Voice while shopping on Amazon.  Consumer Voice is now listed as a part of AmazonSmile, an easy and automatic way to support Consumer Voice every time you shop, at no cost to you.  The Consumer Voice receives a donation of a portion of the purchase price every time you make a purchase.  All Amazon purchases cost the same as they normally would.  

To shop at AmazonSmile, click this link or go to smile.amazon.com and input "NCCNHR" as your charity of choice.  For simpler shopping, you can install a one-touch button on your browser, so you can easily return to AmazonSmile to shop and support the Consumer Voice. For more information about AmazonSmile, click here.  Begin shopping now at smile.amazon.com!

Did You Know?

If you make a tribute contribution in honor of an individual or organization, or in memory of a person, we will send the appropriate contact an acknowledgment recognizing your contribution (but not the amount).  All you have to do is supply their mailing address.  And you will also receive a donation receipt, too.

A Gift of Stock is a Win-Win for the Donor and for Consumer Voice

It is great when the value of an asset increases, but when such assets are owned outside of a retirement plan people are subject to capital gains tax on the asset’s appreciation or increase in value.  Making a gift of the asset – often a stock or other security – to Consumer Voice eliminates the capital gains tax on the holding.  Additionally, the gift may be recognized as a charitable donation and may result in a tax deduction for the full appreciated value of the asset. 

So, the donor wins in two ways – by avoiding capital gains tax and receiving a charitable gift deduction.  And Consumer Voice wins by obtaining your contribution and using it to support our programs of long-term care advocacy and education. If you would like to make a gift of stock or other security, contact rgelula@theconsumervoice.org.

Join the conversation and follow us on social media!

Last Week's Most Popular Post:

Thursday, January 15:
We receive or are copied on many letters from people struggling to obtain quality care. The following letter comes from a woman who has tried in vane to get expected care for her husband with dementia who resides in an assisted living facility in an urban community.

Last Week's Most Popular Tweet:

Thursday, January 15
See the AARP Bulletin article by TR Reed on insufficient Alzheimer's research

Long-Term Care Resources & News

Read past issues of The Gazette here.

Sponsor the Gazette - Consumer Voice is now accepting sponsorship for each weekly issue of The Gazette.  As a benefit of sponsorship, the contributor may honor, remember, or thank an individual or organization.  For more information, contact Richard Gelula at rgelula@theconsumervoice.org

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 below. Your contributions and comments are welcome and should be sent to info@theconsumervoice.org. Copyright © 2015.

If you did not receive The Gazette through a subscription, but would like to join our mailing list to receive future issues, click here.

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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