Target Population

The LTC ombudsman program serves older residents of nursing facilities and B&C homes. It is estimated that 1,365,873 residents over age 65 reside in nursing facilities. They represent 92 percent of all nursing facility residents. Although older residents constitute a smaller percentage of all B&C residents (only 52 percent), a sizable number of older individuals (216,020) live in such facilities (Sirrocco, 1994). The number of nursing facility and B&C beds provides a measure of the scope of the ombudsman programs’ mandate. As shown in Table 2.2, in 1992, there were 1,714,720 nursing facility beds and 618,704 licensed B&C beds in the nation.

Human Resources

Paid Staff

Recent estimates of LTC ombudsman staffing put the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) paid staff at 865 (see Table 2.3).1 Average state-level staffing (i.e., not including any local staff) is estimated at 2.6 FTEs per state. The number of paid staff of local programs (i.e., not including any state-level staff) ranges from 1 to 153. Kautz (1994) estimated the average statewide staffing (i.e., including both state-level and local staff) to be 15.7 FTEs. Because the mean figure is influenced considerably by a few states with high staffing levels, the median is probably the most indicative measure. Median statewide staffing is 10 FTEs. The ratio of FTEs to beds ranges from 1 to 128 in South Dakota to 1 to 28,370 in New Jersey. The nationwide ratio of FTEs to beds is 1 to 2,698.

The OAA requires states to employ at least one person as the “State LTC Ombudsman,” who “shall serve on a full-time basis.” All states have named such a person, although the committee found that, in several states, that person’s time is not devoted solely to the program. For example, since the enactment of the 1992 OAA amendments, several states have named or are considering naming their state ombudsman to lead or coordinate the Elder Rights (Title VII)

1  

The AARP survey (1994a) asked states for “the total number of paid staff, full time or part time, working with the ombudsman programs in local sites.” AARP equated two part-time staff to one full-time equivalent. Other sources (AoA, 1994d; Kautz, 1994; NORC, 1994a) report different numbers of paid and volunteer staff. AARP’s data is presented here, as it is the most comprehensive and reliable.



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