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A Legacy: Mary V. Meinhardt November 30 / 2021 | Mary Day | No Comments

With heavy hearts we share the news of Mary Meinhardt's…

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Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Your Advocate When Choosing or Using Long-Term Services in Southwest Ohio

Pro Seniors’ long-term care ombudsmen are advocates who ensure that people are being treated with respect in their long-term care situation.  With the client’s permission, we handle complaints about long-term care services and act as a go-between, voicing the needs and concerns of the clients to nursing homes, home health agencies, and other providers of long-term care.

Ombudsman Mission

As mandated by the Older Americans Act and Ohio law, the mission of the long-term care ombudsman program is to seek resolution of problems and advocate for the rights of home care consumers and residents of long-term care facilities with the goal of enhancing the quality of life and care of people using these long-term services and supports.  This work is supported by the United Way of Greater Cincinnati.

“[Our ombudsman] did his homework on the law, interviewed the patient and family and was very well prepared to interact with a needlessly hostile administration.  He advocated at the highest level for a person who could not advocate for himself.”   ~Alan, thank you letter

What about visits with nursing home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic?

While many Public Health orders have been rescinded, nursing homes are still required to follow the guidance of the county health departments, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as they develop their procedures for resuming visits with residents.  It’s important to note that visits are permitted when certain conditions are met.

The current guidance for visitation requirements from CMS states:

“Facilities should allow indoor visitation at all times and for all residents (regardless of vaccination status), except for a few circumstances when visitation should be limited due to a high risk of COVID-19 transmission (note: compassionate care visits should be permitted at all times).”

Factors that may indicate a high risk of COVID-19 transmission and therefore limit indoor visitation include:

  • Unvaccinated residents, if the nursing home’s COVID-19 county positivity rate is >10% AND <70% of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated;
  • Residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated until they have met the criteria to discontinue transmission-based precautions; OR
  • Residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met criteria for release from quarantine.

For additional detail, review Indoor Visitation on Page 3 of the CMS Memo Ref: QSO-20-39-NH, which was Revised 04/27/2021.

For the latest information from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) on local positivity rates to allow for visiting a resident in a specific facility, check the ODH Dashboard.

As visits resume, we recognize that the guidance is open to interpretation and visitation may look different from one facility to another. If you have questions about visiting a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living in southwest Ohio, contact the ombudsman. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has published a helpful vaccine information fact sheet.  When you visit your loved one, consider these tips from the National Consumer Voice.

Ombudsman Helpline: 513-458-5518 or helpline@proseniors.org (please put Helpline as the subject)

Are You Building a Family Council?

Family Councils are an effective way to address issues in nursing homes that are important to residents and families.  Federal law protects the right to form a council and to run it independently of the facility.  Regulations require the facility to give weight and consideration to all family council recommendations.  The facility must provide families with a space for meetings.  The information in the Family Council Toolkit developed by the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman will help families walk through the process.  In Southwest Ohio you can also contact the long-term care ombudsman office at Pro Seniors for direct assistance at 513-458-5518.

What if I live outside your area?

Pro Seniors’ Long-Term Care Ombudsman service area includes Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, and Warren counties in Southwest Ohio.  If you are an Ohio resident outside of these counties, please see this listing.  If you don’t live in Ohio, please see this listing.

How Ombudsmen Help

When You Need to Choose Care & Services

Ombudsmen link people to services or agencies to support productive, fulfilling lives.  When more services are needed, the ombudsman can help with this complex and often emotional selection process.  Whether you are choosing a care provider for the first time, or moving from a facility where you currently live, the ombudsman can help you recognize and exercise your rights during the process.

Long-term care ombudsmen can help you understand the process of selecting long-term care and provide information about related benefits and insurance.  The ombudsman will also help you learn what you need to know to get quality care from the provider you choose

Ombudsman Helpline: 513-458-5518 or helpline@proseniors.org (please put Helpline as the subject)

Understand & Protect Your Rights

In a nursing home or residential care facility (assisted living), you have the same rights you’ve always had.  For example, you have the right to privacy, the right to choose your care and treatment, and the right to know your medical condition.

You also have the right to leave, and the right to stay.  Read your rights regarding an involuntary discharge from a nursing home and see how nursing homes can avoid involuntary discharges.

If your rights are being disrespected or ignored in any way, please call the Ombudsman Helpline at 513-458-5518, or email helpline@proseniors.org and put “Helpline” as the subject.

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