Elizabeth Ross ’15, as an intern for the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association’s (MIFA) Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, has helped put together a web-based resource for long-term care needs. Focus groups were used in the guide’s development stage and included professionals in the long-term care field and ordinary people who previously had met with frustration when trying to find information.
According to a recent Memphis Daily News article about the guide, the typical scenario is an elderly loved one has a sudden change of circumstance and the family is not sure where to turn, what steps to take and in what order.
Ross gathered research and information for the website regarding the types of issues that arise in a long-term care facility including residents’ rights and resources for healthcare coverage and assistance, filing a state complaint, and elder abuse.
“This involved investigating other states′ Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program websites, Tennessee government healthcare resources, federal elder legislation and Medicare and Medicaid booklets,” says Ross. “I additionally compiled a contact list for all of the Assisted Living Facilities, Homes for the Aged and Nursing Homes within Shelby, Tipton, Fayette and Lauderdale County. Throughout the process, I was responsible for inputting all of the information, designing the layout of the website and analyzing the focus group notes in order to make changes.”
Sally Jones Heinz ’81, MIFA’s executive director, says there is a need for this new resource that contains information on 89 Mid-South long-term care facilities and can be accessed on MIFA’s web site.
Ross is a political science and Greek and Roman studies major with interests in public advocacy and health care legislation.
“I am grateful that the website now extends as a guiding resource for long-term care assistance throughout all of Tennessee,” says Ross. “On a day to day basis, our program receives calls ranging from beginning the search to find a long-term care facility, how to handle issues inside facilities or how to receive general assistance as an elder or disabled adult in the Memphis community. When dealing with matters that are out of our jurisdiction, it can be frustrating for the individual calling to be told to call yet another number. The intention of this website was to improve accessibility individuals have to long-term care information as well as maximize the efficiency of how MIFA’s Ombudsman Program can help.”