Ombudsman Program Urges Floridians to Visit Facilities During Holidays
TALLAHASSEE - Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program encourages Floridians to spend one hour visiting a long-term care facility resident this holiday season. “Increasing costs in air travel mean fewer friends and relatives are able to visit family members who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities in other states,” said Brian Lee, the program’s director.”
According to AAA Florida, a drop in national air travel is part of a decade-long decline resulting in an overall 62 percent decrease of Thanksgiving holiday travel since 2000. As a result, many residents whose family members are not within driving distance will spend the holiday alone.
More than 160,000 Florida residents currently call a long-term care facility home. Lee encouraged Floridians to spend just one hour in a local facility this holiday season because “Any extra time spent with long-term care residents can boost both morale and health. Visits also serve to improve residents’ quality of life and care through socialization. Visitors don’t need medical experience or knowledge of facility regulations in order to know if residents are being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
To find a complete list of long-term care facilities in your area go to floridahealthfinder.gov and locate the facility nearest you.
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program also encourages Floridians to make visiting long-term care residents a year-round commitment by volunteering as an ombudsman. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program trains and certifies its more than 400 volunteers to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of people residing in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family care homes. All program services, including personalized responses to residents’ concerns, are provided at no charge, and all complaints are confidential.
The Ombudsman Program has 17 local offices throughout the state. Many offices are currently seeking more volunteers. To learn more about the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program's services and volunteer opportunities, call Toll-free 1-888-831-0404 or visit http://ombudsman.myflorida.com.