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News Release

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FRIDAY, February 25, 2011  

DOEA News Release

(850) 414-2327


TALLAHASSEE – Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program today announced the need for more volunteers in each of its 17 local councils throughout the state. The volunteer-based organization advocates for the health, safety, rights and welfare of elders who live in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family-care homes.

When an elder is admitted to a long-term care facility, federal law mandates that he or she is given a special set of residents’ rights covering issues ranging from dignity and respect to measurable quality of life and care.  Volunteer ombudsmen, who are trained by the program, certified by the Department of Elder Affairs and approved by the Governor, each spend approximately 20 hours per month inspecting local facilities and responding to residents’ individual complaints to ensure that their rights are being maintained and respected.  In 2009-10, the program’s volunteers completed more than 9,000 investigations, serving over half a million long-term care facility residents.

“We have a dedicated group of volunteers throughout Florida who go above and beyond to protect residents’ rights and advocate for them on both an individual and statewide level,” said Acting State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Director, Aubrey Posey.  “It takes a special person to give so much time and energy to a program like this; we’re proud to have hundreds of volunteer ombudsmen, but there are areas of the state that need more.  We are seeking dedicated individuals to join our forces and advocate for Florida’s most vulnerable population.”

Residents, family members, friends and concerned citizens contact the program for help in resolving the issues they face at long-term care facilities, and ombudsmen personally visit the residents in their facilities to look into their concerns and provide empowerment and assistance in resolving them.  Last year, the most frequently investigated issues involved medication administration, personal hygiene, and failure to respond to requests for assistance. 

All program services, including individualized response to residents’ concerns, are free.

Individuals interested in volunteering or learning more about the program may call toll-free 1-888-831-0404 or visit online.