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New From the Heinz Family Philanthropies: 10 Questions and Valuable Answers to Help Families If They Are Not Happy With Their Long-Term Care

WASHINGTON, June 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New questions and helpful answers designed to assist families if they are not receiving the long-term care they expect are now available online at - the latest in the Heinz Family Philanthropies 10 Questions to Answer series that helps families make the best long term care decisions.

"Our goal is to offer families reliable answers to even the most difficult situations related to long-term care," said Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Philanthropies. "Far too often families quietly suffer through less than ideal situations when access to the right facts can produce the confidence necessary to make the required changes to relieve the tremendous psychological and financial burdens that they face."

"This is perhaps the toughest part of long-term care to confront head on in a constructive way. While the vast majority of people receive safe, reliable, high quality care, for those that don't, it weighs on the entire family. We think this particular 10 Questions to Answer will be of tremendous help to thousands of families out there," said Jeffrey Lewis, president of the Heinz Family Philanthropies.

10 Questions to Answer poses a series of questions for older adults and their families to consider when considering a whole range of issues about long-term care. They provide brief answers, ideas for further consideration, and links to resources that can help families dealing with these difficult issues.

The Heinz Family Philanthropies has been producing the Facts About series for over five years and distributes them via index-sized laminated cards. These cards are distributed to decision makers in the public and private sectors and the public at large. Our latest iteration in this series, 10 Questions to Answer, will be first available online as fact sheets and within the next 30 days in the normal Facts About format.

Today, the Heinz Family Philanthropies releases 10 QUESTIONS TO ANSWER...When You Are Not Happy With Your Long-Term Care, offering information and insights to consider when your current situation is not working out.

Already available at are:

  • 10 Questions to Answer Before You or a Your Loved One Needs Long-Term Care...
  • 10 Questions to Answer Before You or a Your Loved One Purchase Long-Term Care...
  • Ten Questions to Answer Before Choosing a Nursing or Assisted-Living Home for Your Loved One.
  • 10 Questions to Answer...Managing Your Long Term Care Services and Supports to Achieve Better Quality

The Foundation for the Future of Aging (, is partnering with the Heinz Family Philanthropies on this project. Board chairman Jan Thayer said, "While the vast majority receive the safest and highest quality of care, it is vital that those families whose expectations are not being met know how to change their circumstances for the better. Having more informed and more engaged families helps the providers of long-term care be more responsive as well. The Ten Questions to Answer series, created by the Heinz Family Philanthropies gives families the right tools to be more make those changes."

Long-term care encompasses a variety of medical and non-medical services provided to persons with chronic diseases or disabilities who need assistance with activities of daily living like dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom. Long-term care can be provided at home, in the community, in assisted living communities, or in nursing homes.

In 2002, the Heinz Family Philanthropies introduced its Facts About card series, aimed at providing decision-makers with up-to-date and dependable statistical information on many complex problems that our nation faces. Since the program's inception, more than 400,000 Facts About cards have been distributed to lawmakers, business professionals, civic leaders, community advocates, educators, union leaders, parents, and students.

The 10 QUESTIONS TO ANSWER Web site ( has released four fact sheets over the past four weeks and today's release represents the fifth and final one for this series.

10 QUESTIONS TO ANSWER...When You Are Not Happy with Your Long-Term Care

1.) Have you clearly defined your goals for the service(s) that you or your loved one is receiving?

Fact: For information on how to define your goals, see Heinz "10 Questions on Planning for LTC." Record your goals in a personal health record, and share these goals verbally and in writing with your providers.

Web resource:

Web resource:

2.) Have you examined what you can control or influence?

Fact: If you are unhappy with your care, examine what you can or cannot control or influence, and who can help you make changes. Then make a plan and proceed with it.

3. Do you know where to turn for help if you continue to be dissatisfied with your care?

Fact: Every state has a long-term care ombudsman program to respond to complaints about care in nursing homes and assisted living homes. Your Area Agency on Aging (AAA) can tell you where to turn for help with concerns about other forms of long-term care such as in-home care. To reach your Long-Term Care Ombudsman, contact the National Ombudsman Resource Center. Your local AAA can be found by contacting the National Eldercare Locator.

Web resource:

Web resource:

4.) Have you started asking for improvement at the lowest level?

Fact: In a long-term care situation, it is important to build a foundation of mutual respect with the person providing direct service. Recognizing their hard work and what they do right is one way for you to feel free to be specific about what is not satisfactory.

5.) If your long-term care services are not satisfactory, did you first communicate with your direct provider?

Fact: If you are unhappy with your in-home care or other community-based services such as transportation, home-delivered meals, adult day care, etc. your first call should be to your direct provider. If that does not result in satisfactory change, you should then call the agency responsible and ask to speak with a supervisor or manager. It is often easier to solve the problem with your current care before making the decision to change providers.

6.)Are you satisfied with the services you are receiving in a nursing home or other residential care setting such as assisted living?

Fact: If you are not satisfied with the service you are receiving, you should first try to resolve the issue by speaking with the Director of Nursing, the Administrator, and then the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. If those calls do not result in satisfactory change, you can call the state agency responsible for licensing or regulating the facility. This number must be posted in a public place at the home or facility.

7.) Are you satisfied with the service or the discharge plan you or a loved one received from a hospital?

Fact: You have the right to speak with the "patient representative," the "utilization manager," and/or the Administrator for the hospital if you are not satisfied with the service you are receiving, including discharge plans. If your issue is not resolved, you can file a complaint with the Joint Commission.

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8.) Are you satisfied with your physician visits?

Fact: You can prepare for physician visits by taking your current medication list, having a list of questions/issues, and following your treatment plan. Try to engage your doctor in a discussion about how to improve outcomes. If you are still unsatisfied with the care you are receiving, you can contact your health plan or County Medical Society for referral to a new physician.

9.) Are you happy with the benefits or services you receive through your long-term care insurance plan, if you have one?

Fact: If you are not happy with your benefits, you can call your local Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program. Your local AAA can give you the number. If that does not resolve the issue, you can contact your state's department that licenses and/or regulates insurance policies and agencies.

Web resource:

Web resource:

10.)Do you feel as if you have exhausted all available avenues to get satisfactory care?

Fact: If you feel you have tried every option available to you to resolve your issues, you can contact your State or Federal elected officials and ask them to help resolve the problem.

Web resource:

SOURCE Heinz Family Philanthropies
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