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FL celebrates ombudsman program

Dear Editor:

As Florida celebrates National Volunteer Week, I want to recognize Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsmen, a dedicated group of nearly 260 volunteers who give their time to more than 160,000 Floridians residing in nursing homes or other long-term care settings. This vulnerable population requires ombudsmen to advocate on behalf of residents, ensuring the residents’ right to age with dignity, autonomy and choice.

An ombudsman volunteer’s assistance and attention helps to ensure that the voices of long-term care facility residents are heard. Ombudsmen seek to protect the health, safety, and welfare of long-term care facility residents. During this week when we celebrate the incredible accomplishments of all volunteers, the program would like to specifically honor the work of our ombudsmen volunteers.

Last year, ombudsman volunteers gave more than 70,000 service hours and traveled a total of 405,336 miles across Florida’s 67 counties to visit residents, conduct annual facility assessments, train facility staff and residents, and investigate complaints, attempting to resolve any complaints to the residents’ satisfaction. Seven districts hosted district-wide resident council meetings where residents gathered with ombudsmen volunteers, their caregivers, and family members to discuss issues, share ideas, and encourage residents to know and advocate for their rights.

If you would like to become an ombudsman or for more information about Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, please call 1-888-831-0404 or visit us on the web at www.ombudsman.myflorida.com. Your help along with the contributions of our program’s current volunteers will continue to improve the lives of long-term care facility residents.

Aubrey Posey, Acting State Ombudsman, Department of Elder Affairs, 850-414-2323; ombudsman.myflorida.com

Click here to read this article on www.healthnewsflorida.com