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Lifestyles

April 26, 2014

From the Office: Stay active, involved by becoming a long-term care ombudsman

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What are some examples of situations an ombudsman may be involved in?

A resident called the local ombudsman because the nursing home recommended he not be discharged because of a skilled nursing need. The ombudsman met with the resident and developed a workable plan. With permission from the resident, the ombudsman worked with facility staff to make arrangements for needed community-based services. Once the necessary arrangements were made, the resident went home with all needs met

In another instance, the ombudsman was called in to mediate a situation between a family and the nursing home. The facility wanted to provide medication for pain management, while the family did not think it was necessary. The resident suffered from dementia and could not communicate her own wishes. 

Staff at the nursing home noted that the resident had increased socialization and participation while receiving mild pain medication. The family rejected the thought of pain management medications for fear of addiction and side effects. The ombudsman suggested a meeting with family, physician, pharmacist, facility staff and the ombudsman. The ombudsman participated as a mediator while both sides addressed concerns, feelings and information about the use of pain medication and any possible alternatives. After the meeting, the family was able to better understand the benefits of pain medication and agreed that providing it was in the best interest of their loved one. The resident was able to be comfortable, active and happy.

How do you get to be a volunteer long-term care ombudsman?

To be a certified long-term care ombudsman, it is necessary to successfully complete a 36-hour training. Trainings, which are organized by local ombudsman coordinators throughout the state, cover all aspects of being an ombudsman and call on local and state experts to provide information about the various areas covered in the training. Once an individual becomes a certified volunteer long-term care ombudsman, it is expected that they will spend time weekly in their assigned facility.

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