340:105-1-7. Advocacy assistance
(a) Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. The Older Americans Act (OAA), Title 42 United States Code, Section 3001 through 3058, mandates establishment of an Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman (Office) and a statewide Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program which provides advocacy services to older residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing home, residential care and other similar adult care homes. The Office is located within Aging Services Division (ASD), and operates under the general direction of the state long-term care ombudsman.
- (1) Advocacy is provided through mandated activities including, but not limited to:
- (A) receive, investigate, and resolve complaints;
- (B) collect and analyze complaints and other data;
- (C) monitor the development and implementation of federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and policies;
- (D) make recommendations to address issues identified as affecting the quality of care and quality of life of residents; and
- (E) provide information to the public and to public officials.
- (2) The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman works through area ombudsman staff and volunteers at the local level, to assist in the improvement of the quality of life and quality of care available to long-term care facility residents, and has the authority to recommend courses of action.
- (3) Statutory authority for access to facilities and residents, receipt of inspection and complaint reports, and participation of ombudsmen as observers in inspections is provided in the Oklahoma Nursing Home Care Act [63 O.S. § 1-1901 through 1-1943] and the Residential Care Act. [63 O.S. § 1-820 through 1-840] Creation of the Office, protection for program representatives and complainants, and establishment of an advisory committee are provided in the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Act. [63 O.S. § 1-2211] Specific policies relating to the operation of the program are located in the Rules for Implementing the OAA of 1965, as amended.
(b) Legal Services Development Program. The responsibility of ASD under federal and state law is to provide the services of an individual hired on a full-time basis with other personnel as needed, known as the state legal services developer, to ensure:
- (1) leadership to secure and maintain the legal rights of older individuals;
- (2) the capacity to coordinate the provision of legal assistance;
- (3) the capacity to provide technical assistance, training, and other supportive functions to Area Agencies on Aging, legal assistance providers, ombudsmen, and other persons, as appropriate;
- (4) the capacity to promote financial management services to older individuals at risk of guardianship;
- (5) the capacity to assist older individuals in understanding their rights, exercising choices, benefiting from services and opportunities authorized by law, and to maintain the rights of older individuals at risk of guardianship;
- (6) the capacity to improve the quality and quantity of legal services provided to older individuals;
- (7) capacity to analyze, comment on, monitor, develop, and promote federal, state, and local laws, rules and regulations, and other government policies and actions; and
- (8) capacity to provide such information as necessary to public and private agencies, legislators, and other persons.