Long Term Care Ministry

Cast me off not in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength fails me.
                                 --  Psalm 71:9


Let Your Heart Take Courage This article suggests the need for family and clergy to offer a ritual or ceremony to mark the passage into nursing homes. These ceremonies offer a process to say goodbye, move forward, deal with the anger, loss and abandonment that can occur, and help families to honor their lives together. This ministry offers clergy an opportunity to perform religious ceremony on a more personal level than standard services in nursing homes.

The Whole World Is Full of His Glory This personal reflection discusses the discomfort of the sounds and smells of a Special Care Unit in a nursing home. Kozberg, a nursing home chaplain reflects on this discomfort as holy, emphasizing that the Staff and the Rod is ever present even in the valley of the shadow.

Still A Child of God It's heartbreaking to watch age or dementia claim a loved one's mind, body, and spirit. But it's a mistake to think that disease destroys a Christian's desire or ability to worship. Older adults can still encounter God through well-designed worship services.

Church in Nursing Homes: Developing a Worship Ministry We never outlive our need to grow spiritually and to be a part of a worship community. Yet all too often residents of nursing homes do not experience meaningful worship. So how can we “church“ in nursing homes more effectively?

A Jewish Response To Dementia: Honoring Broken Tablets It is a widely held belief that people suffering from dementia no longer have spiritual needs. After all, if they can no longer think, reason, or reflect, how could spirituality be important to them? 

Long Term Care Resources

When Independent Living No Longer Works  

If your loved one isn’t able to live independently, there are many different types of residential facilities to meet your caregiving needs.


Housing Decisions

Choosing Residential Care
As the caregiving process progresses, you may find that it’s no longer possible to care for your loved one at home. If so, you need to know as much as possible about residential-care options.

Choosing The Right Place To Live
Is it safe for your loved one to live at home? Should he or she move in with you? Into a long-term care facility? Here’s a look at some of the issues involved in making housing decisions.

Housing Choices
The steps outlined in this article can help you assess your loved one’s situation and determine the right place for him or her to live.

Leaving Home
If your loved one has reached the point where he or she can no longer live at home, be prepared to help him or her deal with a difficult emotional adjustment.

Needs Assessment Worksheet
This worksheet will help you and other family members determine what types of assistance your loved one needs.

When It’s Time To Move
If it’s no longer safe or reasonable for your loved one to live at home, he or she may find moving to a new place to be a difficult adjustment.

Long Term Care Ombudsman

State and local long-term ombudsmen serve as consumer watchdogs for residential care facilities by monitoring conditions, investigating complaints, and fighting for resident’s rights.

What Are Long-Term Care Ombudsmen?
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program is a significant part of the residential care system. Federal law requires each State Agency on Aging to have an Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, and more than 500 local ombudsman programs now exist nationwide. These offices provide help and information to older Americans and their families regarding long-term care facilities. They also serve as advocates who fight for the rights of residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, assisted living facilities, and similar adult care facilities.

Residents’ Rights

  • To be treated with respect and dignity
  • To be free from chemical and physical restraints
  • To manage their own finances
  • To voice grievances without fear of retaliation
  • To associate and communicate privately with any person of their choice
  • To send and receive personal mail
  • To have personal and medical records kept confidential
  • To apply for state and federal assistance without discrimination
  • To be fully informed prior to admission of their rights, available services, and all charges
  • To be given advance notice of transfer or discharge

While most residents receive good care in long-term care facilities, far too many are neglected—and incidents of psychological, physical, and other kinds of abuse do occur. Thus, thousands of trained volunteer ombudsmen regularly visit long-term care facilities, monitor conditions and care, and provide a voice for those unable to speak for themselves. They investigate complaints made by—or on behalf of—residents, and work to resolve the issues. If they find serious violations in a facility, ombudsmen refer the matter to state Health Departments and other authorities.

Other Ombudsman Responsibilities

  • Provide information to residents about long-term care services
  • Represent the interests of residents before governmental agencies
  • Seek administrative, legal, and other remedies to protect residents
  • Recommend changes in laws and regulations pertaining to the health, safety, welfare, and rights of residents
  • Educate and inform consumers and the general public regarding issues and concerns related to long-term care
  • Promote the development of citizen organizations to participate in the program
  • Provide technical support for the development of resident and family councils to protect the well-being and rights of residents

How Long-Term Care Ombudsmen Can Help You

Since they examine the conditions in long-term care facilities on a regular basis, local ombudsmen are a great source for information on those in your area. While they cannot recommend one particular facility over another, ombudsmen can provide information on:

  • The latest survey report on the facility that you’re visiting
  • The number and nature of complaints against the facility
  • The results and conclusions of the investigation into these complaints
  • What to look for as signs of good care in facilities

Find links to your state's Long-Term Care Ombudsmen here:

© Copyright FamilyCare America, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Adapted from Your Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home, United States Department of Health and Human Services Health Care Financing Administration and The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. United States Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging.

Caregivers Handbook

This handy guide provides resources, checklists and worksheets
 - all in one place.