By Sherry Culp
Special to the Register
Question: There was recently a notice of a Family Council meeting in my mothers nursing home bill. I never get to attend the Family Council at her facility because I no longer live in Kentucky. I think I would benefit from connecting with other family members who are in my shoes dealing with the long-term care system, understanding our rights and learning how I can participate more in my mothers care despite not living there. How can I get connected so to speak?
Answer: The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care is launching a brand new focus group to get family members' input and thoughts on issues related to their loved one's long-term care and services. By joining the Consumer Voices Family Member Focus Group, participants will have the opportunity to respond and react to ideas and suggestions for changes in long-term care.
This focus group is ONLY open to family members. Family members names will not be shared outside the group, and nothing said will affect the services their loved one is receiving.
The first meeting of the Family Member Focus Group will take place by telephone on a toll-free conference line on Wednesday, March 13, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. ET.
If you know someone who has a loved one receiving long-term care services and supports, please pass this info along. They can register for the call by contacting Sara Cirba at email@example.com or at (202) 332-2275, Ext. 221.
You also can participate in your mothers care by phone with the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency.
We can talk with you by phone and help you prepare for care plan conference call meetings with the facility staff.
Many long-distance families are grateful to have an ombudsman accompany their loved one to care plan meetings and facilitate the familys participation by phone. Call us with your questions 1-877-787-0077 (toll free).
You can join the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agencys email list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We work hard to provide our email subscribers with important information but we promise not to overload your inbox. Dont forget to like our Facebook page so you can be connected to other families.
Question: Those sound like great resources. A friend of mine at work said she participated in state wide or regional family groups when her mother was in the nursing home. What might those groups be called and how can I find them?
Answer: Your friend was probably referring to Citizen Advocacy Groups or CAGs. In Kentucky there are two CAGs: Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform www.kynursinghomereform.org or (859) 312-5617 and Kentucky Initiative for Quality Nursing Home Standards www.kyiqnursinghome.org or (502) 649-7919.
CAGs are groups of concerned citizens who advocate for quality long-term care services and support quality of life for residents and consumers. Members of these groups are often people who have or had loved ones in a long-term care setting.
CAGs educate the public about the critical need to improve the care of residents in nursing homes and advocate for laws and regulations that will ensure that nursing home residents will be safe and comfortable.
Join a CAG today and work with other families to make your voice and opinions about long term care known.
This column is presented as a public service of the Richmond Register and the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass (859) 277-9215, www.ombuddy.org.
If you have a question, send it to Sherry Culp, NHOA , 1530 Nicholasville Road, Lexington, KY, 40503.