Saturday, December 12, 2009

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

Residents of long-term care facilities sometimes have little or no contact with the outside world. Many feel they lack control over their lives. A friendly volunteer who visits regularly can be a bright spot in an elderly resident's day. Many residents are alone and would be very happy to have your visits. This may also help ensure they get good care if someone from the community is looking in on them regularly.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman are advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes and assisted living facilities. Ombudsmen provide information about how to find a facility and what to do to get quality care. They are trained to resolve problems. If you want, the ombudsman can assist you with complaints. However, unless you give the ombudsman permission to share your concerns, these matters are kept confidential.

Our local ombudsman's office investigates complaints and advocates for the rights of long-term care residents in Milton-Freewater, Heppner, Hermiston, Pendleton, Canyon City, John Day, Prairie City, Wallowa and La Grande.

State-wide, the agency oversees 21 districts and 42,000 residents in long-term care facilitiies. Last year, 100 certified volunteer ombudsmen made 9,800 visits to care facilities.

Investigations are based on complaints, concerns or suspicions reported by residents, family, facility staff or other agencies.

The areas of La Grande, Wallowa, Hermiston and Prairie City have the greatest need in the state of Oregon. Currently there are just three volunteer ombudsman available for this entire region. Ideally, there should be at least ten, allowing more frequent and regular visits to care facilities.

Volunteer ombudsman complete an five-day, 48-hour certification training program and are supported with conferences and refresher training. Volunteers must be at least 21 years old and undergo a background check.