The State of Oregon Helps Their Elderly Citizens With 500% Improvement in Case Reporting

When there’s a complaint at one of Oregon’s long-term care facilities, Certified Ombudsmen Volunteers are responsible for looking into it and coming up with a solution. These volunteers work with agency staff and also report their results to both state and federal authorities.

The Old Process

Here’s what used to happen when someone made a complaint. First, a Certified Ombudsmen Volunteer would be put on the case. In past years, volunteers would use carbonized forms in order to create a case record. After they filled out the form, they’d pass it off to agency support staff, who would be responsible for entering the information into the database. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the process, errors were made. Not only that, but sometimes there was a lag of two months between when a complaint was made and when staff took initial action.

The New Process

Oregon wisely recognized that a two-month delay was a major problem. To speed up the process, the state implemented a series of “smart forms” that volunteers could fill out online. The user-friendly smart forms are intuitive and ombudsmen are capable of clicking on a variety of buttons to get assistance. Obviously, this makes a big difference when you’re using volunteers instead of trained professionals. On the other side of things, agency staff can access data and check complaint frequency and open cases with ease.

Implementation

The Long-term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCO) started to look into different options late 2009. Their main concern was finding a more effective way of helping seniors while also cutting costs. By early 2010, the LTCO had already started testing the new process in a handful of counties. After roughly a year of testing, they decided to make the program statewide. In total, the annual cost for the state of Oregon is around $1,500.

Results

Thanks to the LTCO’s implementation of PerfectForms’ system, they’ve improved virtually every area of case reporting:

  • Paper use has dropped by almost two-thirds. Also, constant updates (which resulted in wasted paper) are no longer an issue as the smart forms can be updated and accessed by volunteers within a couple minutes.
  • Case processing time has shortened. While volunteers and agency staff used to be subject to difficult forms and snail-mail, now everything is online and easy. Thanks to the ease of reporting, volunteers are more likely to report borderline problems. In fact, there’s been a 15% increase in case reporting.
  • Training time has been cut from four hours to one hour, as it’s a lot easier to train a volunteer to use an online form than it is to walk them through the ever-changing paper forms.
  • Volunteer satisfaction is at an all-time high. In fact, 99% of volunteers report being satisfied with PerfectForms.
  • Most remarkably, the accuracy of volunteer reports has improved by a whopping 500%. This is primarily due to the ease with which volunteers can find the correct code in the smart form, thanks to keyword searches and help buttons.

Helping Seniors

It’s easy for the voiceless to get lost in the shuffle, particularly when there aren’t many paid individuals to look out for them. With the introduction of the PerfectForms system, the LTCO has improved results across the board, ensuring that Oregon’s elderly citizens are helped as quickly and in the best way possible.

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