In these site visits, committee members and staff visited a wide array of organizations, agencies, and individuals, including LTC facilities and facility organizations; state, regional, and local ombudsmen programs; sponsors of local ombudsman programs; nursing facility consumer advocacy groups; legal services groups; state regulatory groups such as licensing and certification programs and adult protective services; state and area agencies on aging; and other organizations. In all states, meetings were organized with volunteers serving in the ombudsman program. To provide uniformity among the site visits, each site visit team worked from a standardized interview guide. Altogether, site visitors spoke with more than 400 individuals.
The site visits allowed committee members to learn about the diversity of programs in terms of operations, intensity, and funding throughout the country. All members attended at least one site visit, and the committee set aside extensive time at two meetings to discuss the findings from these visits.
The committee took advantage of other opportunities to consult broadly about the LTC ombudsman programs. For example, at the invitation of the National State LTC Ombudsman Resource Center, several committee members participated in an “open-mike” session with state ombudsmen at the April 1994 training conference in Texas. Similarly, in response to an invitation extended by the National Association of State Units on Aging, some committee members and staff participated in a similar session with the state unit on aging directors as part of their annual conference in June 1994. Additionally, some committee members and staff met with the board and advisory council of these two organizations during the study. The committee also accepted the invitation extended by the American Health Care Association to meet with their Facility Standards Committee in February 1994. In all these contacts, the committee sought evidence on the effectiveness of the LTC ombudsman programs and clarity on what factors enhanced or hindered the programs’ effectiveness.
Finally, as time and opportunity allowed, staff and committee met informally with other groups. For example, staff gave progress reports on the study at the 1993 annual meeting of the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform and two monthly meetings of the Campaign for Quality Care Coalition. Several times throughout the study, the committee and IOM staff consulted with staff at Administration on Aging.