Ombudsman. Many people have some idea who this is and what they do. Some people think I just hit random letters on my keyboard…
Let’s go with the first impression. The dictionary defines it as “an official appointed to investigate individuals’ complaints against maladministration, especially that of public authorities.”
Try putting that on your business cards!
Now, add “Long Term Care” so we end up with Long Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO). The mission statement cited on the home page of the Washington State Ombudsman program (www.waombudsman.org) reads: “Ensuring the rights, dignity, and well-being of individuals living in long-term care today and tomorrow.”
Sounds a little less academic and a little more human, right? The program is all about such beings — humans, that is. LTCOs are advocates, guides, and sometimes just an ear for people who are living in facilities such as adult family homes, assisted livings, and skilled nursing facilities.
Trained facility staff are available to answer a lot of questions and can help you make the adjustment after moving in—and a great place to start. Sometimes, however, for whatever reason, people are hesitant to ask too many questions or worried about issues they may have relating to staff.
Again, if feasible, start with them. The aforementioned LTCO, however, is not an employee of the facility and so residents sometimes may feel they can speak more freely. Go for it. It’s what they do. They can work alongside you regarding any issues and even be a go-between between staff and resident. Or not. LTCOs are the residents’ advocate, so your call.
If you’re a resident, they are there for you and part of their job is to remain current regarding policies, laws, practices, etc regarding long-term care facilities.
To contact our LTCO for Pacific County, call Amber Garrotte toll free at 800-801-0060, or email her at email@example.com. Amber and her volunteers are thoughtful, caring and responsive people.
Information & Assistance
Long Beach: 360-642-3634