April 11, 2018
JEFFERSON CITY • As Martha Eudaley approached her husband’s room in the Chesterfield-area nursing home, she could tell something was off.
“I could smell the stench of feces coming through the door,” Eudaley, 76, remembered about that day in 2010.
When she opened the door, she saw her husband, Tom, slumped in his wheelchair, unconscious. The window was shut and the room was hot, she said.
Eudaley screamed, and two aides came in. One told her that her husband — who wasn’t able to walk because of a debilitating disease — had gotten out of bed in the middle of the night, closed the window and turned off the air conditioner, Eudaley remembered.
A short while later, Tom was hospitalized with a high fever. He died soon after. Eudaley reported the incident to the nursing home, which she declined to name, and the state, but nothing happened, she said. Since then, Eudaley has been pushing for something she feels might have protected her husband: a camera installed in his room.
“He would have had a witness,” said Eudaley, who lives in St. Louis. “Then there would have been some accountability.”
Two bills have been introduced in the Missouri House this year allowing cameras in nursing home rooms, which advocates say could help prevent elder abuse. One would give families the ability to install cameras and mandate that nursing homes couldn’t prevent the installation. The other, which has already been handed over to the Senate, would give nursing homes the final say.
Rep. Andrew McDaniel, R-Deering, introduced both measures. Not giving nursing homes some authority over installing in-room cameras was a sticking point with the industry, he said.
“After talking with the industry, that’s one of the big problems they have,” said McDaniel, who has introduced the legislation giving families the power to install cameras for the past three years.
The industry-approved version was “better than nothing,” he said. Once the idea of installing cameras is in statute, McDaniel said, allowing families control over them could come next.
“Hopefully, we get this portion done this way,” McDaniel said. “Later on, someone will carry the ball. It will be a while until the industry is willing to work on it again.”
Nikki Strong, the lobbyist for the Missouri Health Care Association, didn’t return requests for comment over the past several days. The association represents many of the state’s nursing homes and has handed out thousands of dollars in campaign donations, according to the Missouri Ethics Commission.
At a hearing last week, she testified in favor of the version giving final authority to nursing homes.
A spokeswoman for ManorCare, which operates nursing homes in Missouri and across the countryand is a member of the Missouri Health Care Association, said the company would address the issue with its employees if the legislation becomes law.
“The most important consideration should be the security, safety and preserving the dignity of all residents,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.
For her part, Eudaley believes the industry-approved version undercuts the intent of the legislation.
That version “will kill the efforts to stop elder abuse, elder deaths, and protect the nursing homes unless you act,” reads an email she sent to senators, according to a copy Eudaley shared.
AARP, the Missouri Coalition for Quality Care and VOYCE, a St. Louis-based organization that sends volunteers to inspect nursing homes, supported the version giving families more power. That version received a public hearing last week but, so far, isn’t scheduled to be debated on the floor. Less than two months remain in the legislative session.
Many people suffer in nursing homes either from abuse or neglect. Nationally, more than 1 in 5 Medicare recipients do, according to a 2014 study from the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Almost 60 percent of those abuse or neglect cases could have been prevented. The harm came from “substandard treatment, inadequate resident monitoring, and failure or delay of necessary care,” according to the study.
In 2016, Missouri agencies investigated about 50,000 cases of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation, according to a state Department of Health and Senior Services report. The state found evidence to support the claims in about 60 percent of those cases.
In-room cameras would go a long way toward giving residents and their family members a greater sense of security and could deter potential abuse or neglect, said Mary Lynn Faunda Donovan, VOYCE’s executive director.
“Surveillance cameras are not a suitable replacement for the personal involvement of the staff and family members,” she said. However, “video can provide compelling evidence” of abuse or neglect.
Many nursing homes already employ cameras in common areas, Donovan said.
“Such surveillance would not impede an employee’s ability to perform their required task,” she said. “It would aid them in making the best decisions, avoid compromising situations and provide an unbiased eye in the sky in the resident’s room.”
Mary Redford, a VOYCE volunteer, said a few weeks ago she talked to a man who described being sexually assaulted by a staffer. Another resident told her he didn’t get his medication in time so he sat in unbearable pain, she said.
Being a nursing home employee is a tough job, Redford said. Many residents have dementia or mental health conditions and could misinterpret what a staffer is trying to do, she said.
“A camera in the room could exonerate a staff member from any accusations of wrongdoing,” she said. “It works for both sides.”
So far this year, Eudaley has called and emailed every representative and senator about the legislation, she said.
“All I want is something reasonable,” she said. “It’s everyone’s right to be treated respectfully. I’ve seen so much, and I’ve heard so much. I can’t understand why they would say no to this.”
April 11, 2018
The Big 550 KTRS host Doug McElvein interviewed Executive Director, Mary Lynn Faunda Donovan, about two new bills introduced in the Missouri House allowing cameras in nursing home rooms. Amendments weakening these bills were added allowing the facility to turn off the video and audio at the discretion of the nursing home staff and giving facilities final say on whether the resident could install cameras. You can listen to the interview in the video below or by visiting the KTRS website.
March 26, 2018
Jefferson City, MO (KMOX) - Nursing home staff might come under the watchful eye of video cameras under a measure set for discussion in a Missouri House committee this week.
Legislation allowing long-term care residents and their families to install so-called "granny cams" has been introduced in Jefferson City several years running but has never gained much traction. Supporters believe the measure would provide important protections for the state's most vulnerable residents.
"The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that about one in ten elderly people is the victim of abuse," says Mary Lynn Faunda Donovan, Executive Director of VOYCE, an organization that advocates for people in long-term care. Donovan says research suggests tens of thousands of potential abuse and neglect cases go unreported each year. "A lot of times the resident has a physical or mental impairment that they have a very difficult time communicating and explaining what has happened to them." In other cases, Donovan says residents and their families can be fearful of what will happen if they do report abuse or neglect. "Not only is this important in terms of documenting abuse and neglect that may occur, we believe it also would act as a deterrent."
Opponents have expressed concern that cameras could violate residents' privacy -- especially considering the personal nature of care. Facilities have voiced worries that video monitoring would scare away qualified staff.. KMOX reached out to the Missouri Health Care Association for comment. We did not get a response to our requests.
The measure does require residents to sign consent forms and facilities would have to post signs alerting visitors, staff and residents to the presence of recording equipment. The cost of the equipment would be the responsibility of the resident and their family. A companion bill also slated for committee testimony this week would allow electronic monitoring in Missouri Veterans homes.
Only a handful of states have passed similar legislation. Illinois has allowed electronic monitoring at long-term care facilities for two years. The state Department of Public health says it received nearly 400 notification and consent forms the first year. For the full article, visit the KMOX News Radio website.
February 15, 2018
2017 VOYCE CAREGIVER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Teresa Brosch, CNA and Rose Grey, LPN have received the 2017 Caregiver of the Year Award from VOYCE in honor of their strong commitment and compassion for person-centered care. They are both employees at Meramec Bluffs, a life plan community in Ballwin operated by Lutheran Senior Services, and were selected from hundreds of nominees from long-term care communities as well as home care providers, hospice agencies and adult day programs in a 21-county service area. VOYCE (formerly the LongTerm Care Ombudsman Program) honored the pair for their outstanding job caring for and respecting the rights of those receiving long term care.
“Teresa and Rose stand up for each and every resident and greet them all with a smile,” said Maryann Eissler, Care Center Administrator at Meramec Bluffs. “They touch souls of our residents with their caring and compassion, in doing so, caress the hearts of families with their empathy. They both give the best care possible to our residents, and we are all very proud of them for receiving this honor.”
February 09, 2018
VOYCE Executive Director Mary Lynn Faunda Donovan with Board Chair Lauree Peterson-Sakai and event co-chairs Rachel Griffhorn and Lynn Potts joined event emcees Cindy Preszler and Mike Roberts to honor the "best of the best" among caregivers in long-term care. The event showcased nominees from 53 local organizations at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel with a reception with the nominees and sponsors and an award presentation to the Caregivers of the Year and Lifetime Award recipients. Visit the Town & Style website to read the full story and see more photos from the event.
February 09, 2018
VOYCE held its 23rd annual Caregiver Awards Luncheon at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel. Services providers, guests, family members, and sponsors gathered to recognize those members of the long-term care provdier community who were nominated by their peers and the families of those in their care for their selfless service and quality of care. After browsing raffle items, guests enjoyed lunch while viewing videos of the 97 nominees including the 20-Year Lifetime Award nominees for 2017. VOYCE seeks to educate and empower persons and their families for quality living across the continuum of long-term care. Visit the Ladue News website to read the full story and see more photos from the event.
January 16, 2018
Twenty caregivers ended the year as award recipients courtesy of VOYCE (formerly the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program), which recognized staff and volunteers who "embody the voice of compassion by doing an outstanding job caring for and respecting the rights of those receiving long-term care."
Those honored as 2017 Annual Caregiver Award recipients are Juanita Branson, Volunteer in Skilled Nursing, Aberdeen Heights, Teresa Brosch, CNA, LSS-Meramec Bluffs, Julie Brown, Care Center Activity Director, Friendship Village – Sunset Hills, Lorenzo Coleman, CMT/CNA, Bethesda Southgate, Sabine Fyfe, RN Case Manager, Vitas Healthcare, Rose Grey, LPN, LSS-Meramec Bluffs, Lucretia Hawkins-Carthans, Private Duty Assistant, AccuCare Home Care of St. Louis, Jose Johnson, CNA, Right at Home of St. Louis, Tiffany Knebel, Social Worker, Bethesda Dilworth, Roxanne Lewis, Caregiver, Homewatch Caregivers, Brenda Meyer, Receptionist, Cori Manor, Cindy Mitchem, LPN, Marymount Manor, Jason Reed, Caregiver, Home Care Assistance of St. Louis, Donna Roche, Volunteer, BJC Hospice, William “Bill” Santen, Activity Assistant/Bus Driver, Cape Albeon, Keith Usery, Housekeeping Lead, Stonecrest at Clayton View, Stephanie Werbiski, Personal Care Aid/Caregiver, Continuum, Stephanie Winston, Caregiver, Home Instead Senior Care.
The 20-Year Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients are Linda Stanford, CNA/Hospice, SSM Health at Home Hospice and Jeri Worth, On-Call Scheduling Coordinator, AccuCare Home Care of St. Louis.
To read the full story, visit the West Newsmagazine Online
December 29, 2017
An O’Fallon man was honored at the 23rd annual VOYCE Caregiver Awards Luncheon on Nov. 30, wining a Caregiver of the Year award.
“Lorenzo Coleman of O’Fallon is a caregiver who has displayed exceptional service in the setting of long-term care and who has positively affected the lives of the residents he serves,” Chelsea Nollau, spokesperson for VOYCE, a United Way agency and non-profit organization that provides free assistance to families and individuals seeking long-term care for loved ones, as well as advocacy for those currently living in long-term care settings.
VOYCE honored Coleman and other exceptional individuals in the field of caregiving at the Caregiver Awards Luncheon. Nearly 600 people were in attendance, and 97 caregivers nominated for awards. During this annual event, VOYCE (formerly the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program) recognized staff and volunteers who demonstrate excellence in person-centered care. A total of 18 local people were given awards who embody the voice of compassion by doing an outstanding job caring for and respecting the rights of those receiving long-term care. In addition, two individuals were given awards for lifetime achievement.
Award recipients were chosen from long-term care communities, as well as home care providers, hospice agencies and adult day programs in a 21-county service area. All award recipients represent service in areas such as nursing, certified nursing assistants, social services, certified medical technicians, therapy, activities, housekeeping, food service and volunteers.
“It is inspiring to honor these people who give of themselves and make a difference in the lives of those they care for in long-term care,” said Mary Lynn Faunda Donovan, executive director of VOYCE. “It is so important to us to recognize these individuals making such a positive difference by what they do. Each of the nominees knows all too well treating those in their care with dignity, respect and compassion does more than provide good service; it nourishes the soul and uplifts the spirit.”
Today, as many as 29,000 individuals reside in long-term care communities in greater St. Louis and northeast Missouri.
For more than 35 years VOYCE has strived toward a high quality of life for those living in the long-term care continuum by providing advocacy and support.
“In the future, it is estimated that 70 percent of those 65 and older will need long-term care and 43 percent will spend some time in a long-term care community,” said Donovan. “VOYCE will continue to recognize those caregivers that go above and beyond to advocate for and provide the very best care to those requiring long-term care. It is very touching to see not only how these honorees impact lives but how deeply their lives are also impacted.”
Last year, VOYCE helped over 1,000 individuals find long-term care and resolved over 5,082 complaints in long-term care settings, the agency said.
To view the full story, visit the O'Fallon Progress Website.
December 27, 2017
The Burbon resident was among those honored by VOYCE as an exceptional individual in the field of caregiving at the Caregiver Awards Luncheon Thursday with nearly 600 people in attendance and 97 caregivers nominated for awards.
During this annual event, VOYCE (formerly the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program) recognized staff and volunteers who demonstrate excellence in person-centered care. A total of 18 local people were given awards who embody the voice of compassion by doing an outstanding job caring for and respecting the rights of those receiving long-term care.
In addition, two individuals were given awards for lifetime achievement.
Award recipients were chosen from long-term care communities as well as home care providers, hospice agencies and adult day programs in a 21-county service area. All award recipients represent service in areas such as nursing, certified nursing assistants, social services, certified medical technicians, therapy, activities, housekeeping, food service and volunteers.
“It is inspiring to honor these people who give of themselves and make a difference in the lives of those they care for in long-term care,” said Mary Lynn Faunda Donovan, Executive Director of VOYCE. “It is so important to us to recognize these individuals making such a positive difference by what they do. Each of the nominees knows all too well treating those in their care with dignity, respect and compassion does more than provide good service; it nourishes the soul and uplifts the spirit.”
Today, as many as 29,000 individuals reside in long-term care communities in Greater St. Louis and northeast Missouri. One of the staggering facts that speaks to why we exist is more than 50 percent of these individuals never receive a visitor and therefore have no one to advocate on their behalf. For more than 35 years VOYCE has strived toward a high quality of life for those living in the long-term care continuum by providing advocacy and support.
“In the future, it is estimated that 70 percent of those 65 and older will need long-term care and 43 percent will spend some time in a long-term care community,” says Donovan. “VOYCE will continue to recognize those caregivers that go above and beyond to advocate for and provide the very best care to those requiring long-term care. It is very touching to see not only how these honorees impact lives but how deeply their lives are also impacted.”
The 2017 Annual Caregiver Awards Recipients are:
To see the full article, visit the Sullivan Independent News.
December 19, 2017
There is no question that our volunteers are truly special individuals who make a difference in the lives of the residents for whom they advocate.
Recently, VOYCE celebrated Ombudsman Bob Snyder's award as one of St. Andrew's Ageless Remarkable St. Louisan at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch on Saturday, October 28.
Bob was honored for his weekly visits to residents in long-term care helping them resolve issues and bringing a caring voice to those who often have no one to look out for them.
When Bob Snyder takes on a cause it becomes an all-consuming passion.
After retiring from a successful accounting career in 2009, Bob’s passion became providing advocacy and support for seniors living in long-term care.
He volunteers with the VOYCE Ombudsman Program, where each week, Bob, visits residents at Delmar Gardens on the Green, identifying and helping resolve issues they may have, and bringing a friendly, caring voice to those who often have no one else looking out for them.
Bob also serves on the board of the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging, and chairs the Silver Haired Legislature, which annually advocates for seniors’ needs in Jefferson City.
For more about the event and to view a photo gallery of the night, visit the Ladue News Website.
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