Part supervisor, part enforcer, part friend, nursing home ombudsmen commonly play an important role in the well-being of nursing home patients. Generally run as non-profit groups, nursing home ombudsmen help ensure patients rights are protected and resolve issues–big and small– as they arise.
Kentucky.com had a heart-warming story about, Nursing Home Ombudsmen Agency of the Bluegrass, an agency that will soon mark more than 30 years serving the nursing home community. In the article, long-serving ombudsman, Madge Lynn recounts how many of her experiences vary drastically according to the unique circumstances of each patient.
While there are circumstances where a patient may be mistreated at a nursing home, her primary role may be serving as a confidant for patients who may be uncomfortable talking directly to staff at the nursing home or family members. As Lynn says;
I believe in what we do. I believe empowering residents to resolve their own concerns. I believe in alerting the community to the needs of nursing home residents and I love to hear their stories.
As part of the agencies pearl anniversary, the former ombudsmen, public officials and family members will gather to help educate people about long-term care facilities.
Certainly, as someone who see some of the nightmares associated with long-term care facilities, I always encourage patients and families to seek out local ombudsmen when issues arise. In many cases, simple problems can be resolved without any formal disciplinary action is required and before any adverse impact on the patient occurs.
For laws related to Kentucky nursing homes, look here.