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April 17, 2018

It's National Volunteer Week

What is your program doing to recognize the volunteers who give their time to visit and advocate with and for individuals that live in long-term care facilities? The week of April 15 to 21, National Volunteer Week, is a perfect time to reach out and say thanks for volunteering with your program and making a difference in the lives of the residents.

In 2016, 7,331 certified volunteer Ombudsman program representatives contributed 609,843 hours of service to Ombudsman programs across in the country (according to the NORS data). The Independent Sector determined the estimated value of a volunteer hour in 2016 was $24.14. For the Ombudsman program, that is over $14 million of assets due to volunteer service! Due to the dedicated service of these volunteers, resident access to the Ombudsman program is enhanced significantly and thousands of residents receive information about their rights and have assistance and support in resolving their concerns.

Thank your volunteers and recognize their work publicly by sending NORC brief messages of appreciation for their dedicated advocacy (e.g., examples of their advocacy, years of service, photos). We will post your message on our website and highlight the submissions on our home page. Email your submissions to ombudcenter@theconsumervoice.org

For more on volunteer recognition, visit:

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Study Looks at Efficacy of CMS's National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes

Results of a study were published in JAMA Internal Medicine on the efficacy of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes ("the partnership").  The study sought to investigate the association between the partnership and trends in prescribing antipsychotic and other psychotropic medication in older adults in long-term care.  Researchers studied the prevalence of use of antipsychotics and mood stabilizers among 637,426 Medicare beneficiaries in long-term care.  The study found that use of antipsychotic and psychotropic medications had already begun to decline before the start of the partnership.  While use of antipsychotic and psychotropic medications continued to decline after the partnership was established, it did so at a slower rate.  The study also found that the use of mood stabilizers (commonly used to treat bipolar disorder) increased after the start of the partnership.  The researchers surmised that prescribers, rather than increasing the use of nonpharmacologic treatments, moved to prescribing mood stabilizers.  Read the abstract and access the full study here.

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Webinar on Strategies for Communicating Effectively About Aging Issues

Join the Reframing Aging Project for "Reframing Aging: Research-Based Messaging Strategies for Aging Advocates and Communicators" on Thursday, April 26th at 1:00pm ET.  The webinar will review evidence-based strategies developed during the FrameWorks Institute's national multiyear project focused on how to communicate more effectively about aging-related issues.  The webinar will include information on communication strategies to tell a more effective story about your work on aging issues and resources and tools to take the next steps to change communication within your organization.  Register here.

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2018 Resident's Voice Challenge

Participate in the 2018 Resident's Voice Challenge! Residents and long-term care consumers are encouraged to pick up their pens, turn on their cameras or use a computer to display their writing or artistic skills by submitting essays, poems, artwork, drawings, or videos related to the theme for Residents' Rights Month 2018 "Speak Up: Know Your Rights and How to Use Them."
Participants are encouraged to answer any of the following questions:

  1. What do you want people to know about you and how you like to receive care?
  2. Share an example of how you exercise your rights on an ongoing basis.
  3. How do you work with staff, family and other residents to promote quality care and what can they do to help reach that goal?
  4. Give advice to a new resident about exercising their rights.

Possible types of entry include video or audio recording, poems, artwork or drawings, photos or essays.  Mail entries to 1001 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 625, Washington, DC 20036 or email to info@theconsumervoice.org.  Submission deadline is September 1st, so get started planning now!

Find more details here and on our website.  Download our flyer to encourage consumers to participate!

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Webinar on Supplemental Security Income Resources

Join the National Center on Law & Elder Rights for a free webcast, "Legal Basics: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Resources" on Tuesday, May 8th at 2:00pm ET.  SSI is a needs-based program, and to be eligible, individuals must not have countable resources beyond the limit.  The webinar will cover SSI resource limits and rules, including: how “excess” resources can lead to benefit ineligibility, suspension, or termination from the SSI program; the resource transfer penalty and ways to avoid it; and other strategies for addressing common resource issues.  Register here.

For additional information about the SSI Program, review Justice in Aging's new guide on In-Kind Support and Maintenance (ISM) in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program.

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CDC Training for Providers on Prescribing Opioids

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an online training series for healthcare providers on prescribing opioids and treating pain without opioids.  The online training reviews the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain and helps providers apply the recommendations into clinical settings.  The training provides information on the risks and benefits of prescription opioids, nonopioid treatment options, patient communication, and risk mitigation. Find more information here.

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Spotlight on Resources

The Consumer Voice and the National Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) have a multitude of resources available online covering a wide range of long-term care topics.  Visit the Consumer Voice website and the NORC website to explore all the available resources.  Take a look at this week's highlighted resource:

How to Solve Problems in a Nursing Home - This fact sheet provides steps to take to solve problems getting quality care in a nursing home.

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In this Issue

It's National Volunteer Week

Study Looks at Efficacy of CMS's National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes

Webinar on Communicating Effectively About Aging Issues

2018 Resident's Voice Challenge

Webinar on Supplemental Security Income Resources

CDC Training for Providers on Prescribing Opioids

Spotlight on Resources

Calendar of Events

April: Medicaid Awareness Month

April 15-21: National Volunteer Week

Wednesday, April 18: When Nursing Homes Close: Hear from Pilot States, 2:00pm ET, Consumer Voice webinar

Wednesday, April 18: Drafting Advance Planning Documents to Reduce the Risk of Abuse or Exploitation, 2:00pm ET, Webinar from the National Center on Law & Elder Rights

Thursday, April 26: Reframing Aging: Research-Based Messaging Strategies for Aging Advocates and Communicators, 1:00pm ET Webinar from FrameWorks Institute

May: Older Americans Month

Tuesday, May 8: Legal Basics: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Resources, 2:00pm ET, Webinar from the National Center on Law & Elder Rights

Friday, May 11: Dr. Joshua M. Wiener's Legacy: Keep on Marching!, 1:00-5:00pm ET, Symposium in Washington, DC

Friday, June 15: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

October: Residents' Rights Month, Speak Up: Know Your Rights and How to Use Them

October 22-24: Consumer Voice Annual Conference, Alexandria, Virginia

Join the conversation and follow us on social media!

Last Week's Most Popular Post:

Wednesday, April 11:
Consumer Voice Executive Director Lori Smetanka, along with Eric Carlson and Nancy Stone, wrote an article published in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Journal entitled "Advocating for Nursing Facility Residents Under the Revised Federal Requirements."

Last Week's Most Popular Tweet:

Tuesday, April 10:

Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims. Search #NCRVW2018 to learn how you can help victims of crime.

Long-Term Care Resources & News

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About The Voice

The Voice is a weekly e-newsletter, published by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. 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 © 2018.

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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. Consumer Voice's mission is to represent consumers at the national level for quality long-term care, services and supports.

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