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Resources for Ombudsmen

Fact Sheet: Guardianship and the Right to Visitation, Communication, and Interaction
The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging published this legislative fact sheet which offers assistance to lawyers, bar associations, allied professionals, legislative staff, and advocates to make policy recommendations, improve practice, and raise professional awareness about visitation and guardianship. 

Facts heet: Role of Guardianship Standards in Addressing Elder Abuse
The National Guardianship Association (NGA) Guardianship Standards were developed to help guardians address practical problems and challenge guardians to practice guardianship at a level higher than the minimum standards often found in state laws. This factsheet summarizes highlights from the NGA Guardianship Standards of Practice. The NCEA released this factsheet created in collaboration with the American Bar Association, Commission on Law and Aging

WINGS Tips: State Replication Guide For Working Interdisciplinary Networks Of Guardianship Stakeholders
Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS) are broad-based, collaborative working groups that drive changes that affect the ways courts and guardians practice, and improve the lives of people who have or may need guardians.

This publication, produced by the A Commission on Law and Aging on behalf of the National Guardianship Network, highlights the hallmarks of successful WINGS groups and outlines ten steps for launching and maintaining your own WINGS program.

2017 State Adult Guardianship Legislative Summary (December 2017)
This legislative update prepared by the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging profiles the 49 state guardianship bills passed and signed by the Governor during the 2017 year.

Making Guardianship Work for Vulnerable Elders (October 2013)
This session from the 37th annual Consumer Voice conference explores the role of guardians and the rights of wards, as well as the key concerns presented in guardianship cases. It highlights suggested reforms that could improve guardianship standards and practices at both the national and state levels, shows how advocates can encourage change in guardianship policies and practices in their own states as well as how best to work with guardians to ensure the best interests of the wards.

Session material:


Guardianship : Challenges, Opportunities and Advocacy Session at 2012 State LTC Ombudsman Conference
This session detailed the challenges, opportunities and advocacy regarding serving residents with guardians. It provided an overview of the basic authority and limitations of guardianship, insight regarding the perspective of a guardian relative to the perspective and role of an Ombudsman, and shared models and effective strategies.

Guardianship Glossary


Health Care Decision-Making For a Resident In a Nursing Home
This policy statement was developed by the Michigan State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.  The document strives to clarify the law in the area of informed consent, advanced directives and guardianship.

Admission to Nursing Facilities for Persons Who are Isolated and Incapacitated
This memo to the Minnesota State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Deb Holtz, discusses the needs of the rapidly growing population of isolated and incapacitated older adults in nursing facilities.

Court Volunteer Guardianship Monitoring Handbooks
This online resource produced by the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging is intended for use by courts to train and supervise volunteers to go out into the community, visit individuals under guardianship, determine whether guardians need assistance and report back to the judge.  The Handbook guides court staff step by step in developing a volunteer guardianship monitoring and assistance program, recruiting and training volunteers and compiling community information volunteers and guardians will need.  The Handbook contains three related online guides: Handbook from Program Coordinators; Handbook for Trainers; and Handbook for Volunteers.

Informational Brief on Unbefriended Elders
Rough estimates show that three to four percent of the nursing home population are older adults without capacity to give informed consent for treatment and who have no advance directive for the treatment nor any family, friends or legally authorized surrogate to be involved in medical decision-making. These older adults are often known as unbefriended elders or adult orphans. This brief, using data collected largely from NORC's 2010 outreach to state long-term care ombudsmen and information from the July 2003 American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging report Incapacitated and Alone: Health Care Decision-Making for the Unbefriended Elderly, reviews existing mechanisms and practice for decision-making on behalf of unbefriended elders, including hierarchy laws and changes to state laws that address previous weaknesses in the law. This brief also highlights promising practices, puts forth strategies and ideas for long-term care ombudsmen to address the unbefriended elder issue, reviews policy suggestions and provides links to additional resources and sample forms and documents. View the conference call on this topic.

Judicial Determination of Capacity of Older Adults in Guardianship Proceedings: A Handbook for Judges
The handbook, which is a collaborative effort of members of the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Law and Aging, the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National College of Probate Judges (NCPJ), is the second product of the ABA/APA Assessment of Capacity in Older Adults Project Working Group and is intended to provide a framework that judges may find useful and effective in capacity determination.

Ombudsman Best Practices

The SLTCO, by invitation of the MFP Administrator, met with some staff of the state-owned facilities to review the guardianship and surrogacy processes and established a task force to review how staff decide who had capacity, guardians, decision makers, and what criteria were used in making the decisions. They also reviewed and updated admission and operational policies. A training session for staff was conducted immediately.  (2011)

Information to Share with Consumers


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