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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

June 7, 2011

Introducing the New Weekly Gazette

The Consumer Voice is pleased to release the newest version of its e-newsletter, The Gazette. The Gazette will continue to provide timely information about ombudsman program happenings, citizen advocacy group happenings, state and federal legislation and "DC Doins'" - just on a weekly basis instead of monthly. Additionally, The Gazette will now incorporate the Consumer Voice's monthly Executive Director Updates.

The Consumer Voice e-mails The Gazette out each Tuesday; it will also be available on our websites. By switching to a weekly format, we are able to get the latest Consumer Voice news and long-term care happenings out as quickly as possible. This new format will also decrease the number of Consumer Voice e-mails sent; we know how busy our members are. We are working diligently to get you the information needed in the most efficient manner possible.

Finally, we ask you to share this information with your networks. We encourage state ombudsmen to distribute The Gazette to their local and volunteer ombudsmen who do not have e-mail or access to the Internet.

Consumer Voice Receives AoA Grant to Operate Ombudsman Center

The Consumer Voice is pleased to announce it has received a three-year grant from the Administration on Aging (AoA) to continue operating the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC), with the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities as a sub-grantee.

NORC provides support, technical assistance and training to the 53 State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs and their statewide networks of almost 600 regional programs. NORC works to enhance the skills, knowledge and management capacity of the state programs to allow them to handle residents’ complaints and represent resident interests. Tasks undertaken by NORC are designed and developed with input from state and regional long-term care ombudsmen. The Consumer Voice has operated NORC since 1993. Read More.

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New Study Looks at Influence of Nurse Staffing Levels on Quality of Care in Florida Nursing Homes

A new study published by The Gerontologist positively correlates nurse staffing levels to quality of care in nursing homes. Previous studies have examined the relationship of staffing to deficiencies and reached similar conclusions. However, "The Influence of Nurse Staffing Levels on Quality of Care in Nursing Homes" by Kathryn Hyer and colleagues is innovative in several respects.

First, it is among the first studies to use the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' new comprehensive measures of nursing home quality that capture both scope and severity of violations; second, it focuses only on Florida, in order to reduce state-to-state variations and uses state-verified, facility-specific staffing data over a four-year period. Finally, the study relies on a large sample size, repeated measures design and sophisticated statistical method. The findings from this study have clear implications for states and providers regarding the necessity of increasing staffing levels in order to improve quality and save taxpayers money. However, a budget deal lowering nursing home staffing mandates has recently been approved in Florida, raising fears of a drop in quality of care to follow, as this study would predict.

An abstract can be found online. Copies of the article can also be requested directly from the corresponding author.

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AoA Toolkit for Serving Different Communities

In 2010, the Administration on Aging (AoA) released a "Toolkit for Serving Diverse Communities" to assist aging network providers and their partners in building capacity to successfully serve an increasingly diverse population of seniors and their caregivers. Respect, inclusion and sensitivity are the keywords defining AoA's view on diversity. The Toolkit provides a four-step process to assist the aging services network on developing a flexible working strategy to apply to each unique diversity spectrum, improving the person-centered approach. The four steps include assessment of the current situation, identification of community resources, services design and program evaluation.

The Toolkit can be found online. Additionally, on May 25, AoA and the National Consumer Law Center held a webinar on the Toolkit. View the PowerPoint Presentation, or listen to a recording of the webinar.

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LTCCC Releases Report on Care and Oversight of Assisted Living in New York

In May 2011, the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC) released a report entitled, "Care and Oversight of Assisted Living in New York State." The report looked at the array of assisted living options, including adult homes and enriched housing, in New York and analyzed 2002 to 2011 Department of Health data and ombudsman complaint data from 2006 to 2011. The report found several violations reoccur year after year in assisted living residences in the state, putting residents at risk. According to a LTCCC press release, the report indicates:

    • "While the number of citations went down, the three areas most cited by the Department of Health have remained the same for nine years: resident care; medication and environmental issues.
    • Medication issues are still rampant with almost a quarter of the medication citations repeats from previous years.
    • Of the 86 facilities found to have endangered their residents during this time period 63 have been sanctioned; 20 cases are still pending, eight from three to five years ago.
    • The mentally ill are still suffering. Even after the investigations of the early 2000's and the succeeding state workgroups, the impacted homes (adult homes with 25 percent or more mentally disabled) still have many problems. Department of Health surveyors are now finding twice as many violations in the impacted homes as the non-impacted homes."

Read more.

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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2011 is June 15

The sixth Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Sponsored by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, WEEAD works to raise awareness of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. Throughout the world, abuse and neglect of older persons is largely under-recognized or treated as an unspoken problem. Show the world you care about ending elder abuse and neglect, and mark your calendars for June 15. Read More.

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Six-Step Process to Develop and Maintain a Successful Elder Abuse Coalition

A recent National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) webcast entitled, "Successful Elder Abuse Coalitions Share Lessons Learned" featured a review of the NCEA Elder Justice Community Collaborations Project and presentations from leaders of three productive elder abuse coalitions.

The NCEA Elder Justice Community Collaborations Project was led by two members of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA), Mary Lynn Kasunic and Dr. Pamela B. Teaster. The project sought to identify successful elder abuse coalitions and determine why those coalitions are effective in order to offer grants and training to build new elder abuse coalitions.

In order to locate active elder abuse coalitions, a 60-second survey was distributed through the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD) to 655 Area Agencies on Aging and 250 Title VI Grantees (agencies that provide services to Native Americans) asking if they participated in an elder abuse coalition.

The initial survey found 117 elder abuse coalitions and the project coordinators sent comprehensive surveys to those coalitions and received 57 responses. Of the 57 respondents, 26 of the elder abuse coalitions were deemed "effective." The team conducted two teleconferences with the 26 “effective” coalitions to gather more information about their best practices in forming and maintaining their coalition. Read more.

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National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care - 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 425 - Washington, DC 20036 - telephone: (202) 332-2275 - fax: (202) 332-2949 - info@theconsumervoice.org