The mission of Alaska's Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman is to provide resident-centered advocacy designed to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of Alaskan seniors, age 60 and over living in long-term care facilities.
- Complaint investigations
- Develop and support the creation and maintenance of family and resident councils.
- Ensure the needs, interests, and opinions of Alaskan seniors are conveyed to policy makers.
- The LTCO program will actively advocate to protect the rights of seniors by educating care providers and the public through community outreach and training.
|A: Result - Seniors who reside in long term care settings will be protected from poor quality of care, environments and/or practices which jeopardize their safety, and from violations to their rights.|
Target #1: 90% of all complaints received by the LTCO program are resolved to the satisfaction of the resident or their representative.
Complaints Resolved to Satisfaction or Partial Satisfaction of Complainant
Analysis of results and challenges: During FFY 2020, this target was not met. The data revealed a 64% decrease in the number of complaints received from FFY 2019 to FFY 2020. Additionally, only 80% of the 374 complaints were resolved to the satisfaction of the resident. The LTCO completed in-person visitations for six out of the twelve months due to federally mandated visitation restrictions. The LTCO program receives many of our complaints from in-person visitations with residents. While the LTCO completed virtual visitations after in-person visitations ceased, residents were challenged with sharing concerns over the phone. Virtual visitations do not offer the same opportunity to scan the environment of the home or to see residents in person. Furthermore, it was difficult to find resolutions to complaints relating to visitations or community outings due to the restrictions placed on Long-Term Care facilities during COVID 19. Being mindful of the LTCO work challenges during COVID, the program continued to work to ensure residents in LTC facilities were involved in the resolution of their complaints. The LTCO complaint process begins with the resident and ends the resident. The resident determines if they are satisfied with outcome of the complaint.
Target #2: The LTCO program shall visit 100% of the skilled nursing facilities and senior licensed assisted living homes in the state at least once per year.
Visits to Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living Homes
Analysis of results and challenges: Due to the federal mandates of COVID restrictions, this goal was not met for FFY 2020 for Skilled Nursing Facilities. The LTCO completed visits to 17 of the 20 (85%) Skilled Nursing Facilities. In-person visitations ceased in March 2020. Additionally, the LTCO visited 194 of the 299 senior licensed assisted living homes. The LTCO continues to work cooperatively with residential licensing to track the opening of new assisted living homes to ensure that facility visits were completed to most of the homes.
Target #3: The LTCO program will make at least 400 visits to facilities annually.
Quality of Care Complaints
Analysis of results and challenges: This target was met in FFY 2020, however the number of in-person facility visits is far below the number of in-person facility visits from previous years. This is due to the federally mandated in-person visitation restrictions placed on long-term care facilities during COVID 19. The LTCO ceased in-person facility visits in March 2020 and did not return to in-person visits until March 2021 when the federally mandated restrictions were lifted.
Target #4: The LTCO program will make quarterly visits to at least 30 facilities annually, targeting those facilities with the most complaints.
Number of Facilities that Received at Least One Visit Per Quarter
Analysis of results and challenges: This target was not met for FFY 2020. Due to COVID restrictions none of the long-term care facilities received quarterly visits. With that said, it is important to note that 59 of the long-term care facilities received in-person visits in both quarter one and two of FFY 2020. The LTCO was not able to complete any in-person facility visits during the last two quarters of FFY 2020.
Target #5: Annually, the LTCO program will analyze the number and types of complaints by facility in order to determine training or changes that could improve care in the ten facilities that need the most support.
Analysis of results and challenges: The State Long Term Care Ombudsman analyzed the case and complaint intake data. This information was shared with staff and certified volunteers who then chose facilities to visit regularly during the first two quarters of FFY 2020.
|A1: Core Service - Complaint investigations|
Target #1: The LTCO program will retain 6 staff and a working cadre of at least 60 volunteers in order to work towards being able to visit facilities on a quarterly basis.
Number of LTCO Staff and Volunteers
Analysis of results and challenges: This goal was met in FFY 2020. The LTCO continues to retain 6 staff. As noted in our data, we had a slight increase of volunteers for FFY 2020. 68 volunteers donated 436 hours of volunteer time to the LTCO program. There was a significant decrease noted in the number of volunteer hours in FFY 2020. This is because the LTCO Volunteer Ombudsmen were also restricted from visiting facilities in March 2020. The LTCO program continues to recruit, train, and retain volunteers. The LTCO transitioned from the monthly in-person volunteer meetings and trainings to virtual meetings. This has kept many of our volunteers engaged in the program during COVID 19.
Target #2: The LTCO will recruit and train at least 20 new volunteers annually.
Number of Volunteers Trained
Analysis of results and challenges: This goal has been met for the last five years. The LTCO has increased our volunteer recruitment by posting on Facebook community pages, advertisements in the Senior Voice and other news media outlets and our social media efforts. The LTCO communicates our volunteer needs during presentations at the Interagency monthly meetings of senior providers. The LTCO currently keeps track of inactive volunteers in hopes that they will resume their volunteerism when they are ready.
Target #3: The LTCO program will contact all of the resident and family councils at least once a year to explain the role of the OLTCO and offer support.
Number of Contacts with Resident or Family Councils
Analysis of results and challenges: This goal was not met in FFY 2020 due to council members lack of ability to gather in-person due to COVID restrictions. The goal for LTCO is to increase their attendance at family and resident councils when they return to virtual or in-person meetings.
|A2: Core Service - Develop and support the creation and maintenance of family and resident councils.|
Target #1: Support the development and strengthening of family and resident councils at all nursing homes, especially those with more than 20 residents, and State Pioneer Homes to ensure these councils are an effective voice for elderly LTC residents
Number of Contacts with Resident or Family Councils
Analysis of results and challenges: This goal was not met. The LTCO will continue to work on this goal to ensure that long-term care residents are empowered to voice their concerns to their facility. The LTCO developed a culturally relevant resident/family council toolkit which will guide facilities as they establish their resident and family councils. In FFY 2019, the LTCO began sharing the toolkit with each of the nursing homes and State Pioneer Homes and will continue to follow up with each facility throughout the year to monitor their progress.
|B: Result - The rights, interests, and well-being of Alaskan seniors, age 60 and older, will be promoted and protected.|
Target #1: Annually, the LTCO program will analyze the number and types of complaints to determine systems changes that could improve care in long term care facilities.
Analysis of results and challenges: Analysis of the data for FFY 2020 revealed that the top five (5) complaints in nursing homes were: improper discharge or eviction, quality of care issues for residents, failure to respond timely to requests for assistance from outside agencies, supporting a request to transition to a community setting and the ability to exercise rights and personal choice. The top five (5) complaints for assisted living homes were lack of services from outside provider (COVID related issues), quality of care issues for residents, improper discharge or eviction, ability to exercise rights and personal choice, and quality of food/food service issues. Of interest, residents were restricted from visiting day programs during COVID 19. Residents were also restricted from having family and friends visit them in their homes due to COVID 19. This has been a year full of challenges for residents in long-term care facilities. The LTCO will continue to analyze these issues to see if there are any systems changes that could be made to improve the lives of seniors in long term care.
Target #2: The LTCO program shall educate the community about long term care, the LTCO program and related issues such as residents' rights at a minimum of four community outreach or education events annually.
Number of Community Outreach or Education Events
Analysis of results and challenges: In FFY 2020, the LTCO provided community education at six (6) community events, The LTCO also moved from providing in-person presentations to virtual presentations due to COVID 19. While we met our targeted goal, our numbers were significantly lower than the previous year due to COVID. Too, the Deputy LTC Ombudsman position was vacant for five months during this time as well. The Deputy LTC Ombudsman is also responsible for providing community outreach and education.
Target #3: The LTCO program will provide information and referrals to at least 200 callers annually.
Number of Individuals Provided with Information and Referrals
Analysis of results and challenges: In FFY 2020, the LTCO provided Information and referrals to 545 individuals who contacted our office for assistance. This number far exceeded the targeted goal and is a significant increase from the previous year. During this year, we have had an increase in the number of family members, community members or other service providers contacting our office to inquire about issues concerning loved ones in long-term care facilities or inquiring about visitation restrictions. This number does not include individuals who called our office with a complaint that the OLTCO worked to resolve to the satisfaction of the residents.
|B1: Core Service - Ensure the needs, interests, and opinions of Alaskan seniors are conveyed to policy makers.|
Target #1: The LTCO will participate in advocacy on 100% of the legislative bills or state regulations being proposed that affect older Alaskans.
Analysis of results and challenges: The State Long Term Care Ombudsman continued to work closely with the Alaska Commission on Aging, AARP-Alaska, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Office of Elder Fraud, and DHSS to identify and support bills that gave state agencies the tools they need to protect seniors from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
|B2: Core Service - The LTCO program will actively advocate to protect the rights of seniors by educating care providers and the public through community outreach and training.|
Target #1: The LTCO program will provide consultation to at least 40 facilities each year.
Number of Consultations Provided to Long Term Care Facilities
Analysis of results and challenges: In FFY 2020, the OLTCO provided 469 consultations to staff at nursing facilities and assisted living homes. This is a 63% increase than the previous year. During COVID 19, the LTCO completed virtual visits with residents. The LTCO also spent time talking with facility staff who were seeking guidance on certain protocols related to COVID. Facility staff would frequently contact our office to inquire about testing centers, where to find PPE or to discuss other resident related concerns.
Target #2: The LTCO program will conduct training at least three times per year to long term care providers regarding resident rights, the role of the LTCO, and LTCO assistance available to care providers.
Number of Trainings Provided to Long Term Care Facility Staff
Analysis of results and challenges: In FFY 2020, the LTCO provided a training to one long-term care facility on health and safety and residents rights. It is important to note that after March 2020, the LTCO staff were not able to visit facilities to conduct trainings with staff. The LTCO moved to a virtual format and began hosting monthly meetings with ALH providers during COVID 19 and coordinated our efforts with Residential Licensing, Public Health-Epidemiology, and AARP Alaska. During this time, this team focused on providing updates to ALH administrators about COVID 19, Visitations Guidelines, PPE concerns, Testing and other COVID 19 related topics. These monthly educational meetings have continued throughout COVID 19 and have since transitioned to an ECHO format with the University of Alaska hosting and the State Partners acting as HUB Team members. This coordinated effort has proven to be an effective way to keep ALH Administrators informed of COVID related topics.
Current as of November 1, 2021