Local Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Advocates Honored

Local Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Advocates Honored

The Ohio Department of Aging and Ohio’s State Long-Term Care Ombudsman program recently honored program advocate volunteers across the state for their service. From the Buckeye Hills Regional Council area, Jim Schultz was honored for 223.9 hours of service last year. Jim lives in Nelsonville and volunteers at Logan Health Care Hocking County.

Shown with Jim Schultz (center) is Joel Whetstone with the Ohio Dept. of Aging, and Beverley Laubert, Ohio’s State Long-Term Care Ombudsman program Director.

“Volunteer Ombudsmen provide an essential voice for residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care settings,” said Buckeye Hills region LTC Ombudsman Director Kim Flanigan. “Volunteer advocates offer encouragement and support and help residents understand their rights and resolve problems. They also often lessen isolation and loneliness many residents may experience.”

“We have such a large, rural region and we couldn’t do all that we do across eight counties without our dedicated volunteers,” added Flanigan. “Last year, they contributed 355 hours of volunteer service.”

The Ombudsman Program staff work to ensure the safety of residents and the quality of services by negotiating for the solution of problems that arise between providers and consumers of long term care services. In 2016 there were 144 visits completed by staff and volunteers. There were 100 cases completed that arose from 200 total complaints and netted a total of 1,469 case hours.

According to the Administration on Aging, nationally, the ombudsmen’s offices operating in all 50 states, investigated 200,000 complaints in 2015. Of those, almost 117,000 were reported to have been resolved in a way that satisfied the person who made the complaint, and about 30,000 were partially resolved. At the top of the list were problems concerning care, residents’ rights, physical environment, admissions and discharges, and abuse and neglect.

In nursing homes and assisted living facilities, volunteers observe conditions and care and inform residents about their rights. For consumers who choose to receive care in their own homes, volunteers talk to consumers about their caregivers and services they receive.

If you are a professional, retired, or are interested in being an advocate for residents in long-term care settings, please call 1-800-331-2644 with questions or to learn more.  To learn more about volunteer opportunities call