Posted April 19, 2012 at 4 a.m. .
Jim Crochet, Tallahassee
Letter: Nursing home Ombudsman orogram can do more great things with your participation
To celebrate National Volunteer Week (April 16-21), I want to recognize the group of nearly 300 volunteer ombudsmen who give so much of their time and energy advocating for more than 160,000 Floridians living in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and adult family care homes.
Residents in long-term care facilities represent our friends and family members who often need an extra voice to ensure that their right to age with dignity, choice and autonomy is respected.
Volunteer ombudsmen of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program seek to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of Florida's most vulnerable population.
Last year, volunteer ombudsmen traveled a total of 365,412 miles across Florida's 67 counties and gave more than 70,000 service hours to meet with residents, conduct annual facility assessments, train facility staff and residents and investigate complaints, attempting to resolve any complaints to the residents' satisfaction.
Nine district-wide resident council meetings were hosted around the state by ombudsmen volunteers and staff, where residents from multiple area facilities gathered with their caregivers and family members to discuss issues, share ideas and encourage residents to understand and advocate for their rights.
The Ombudsman Program is always looking for more individuals. If you would like to better the lives of long-term care residents, contact 1-888-831-0404 or visit ombudsman.myflorida.com.
Jim Crochet is state ombudsman for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.