Guest Column

Long-term care ombudsman available to help with concerns

By Patricia Hall
Posted 1/28/21

It’s always good to have friends willing to lend a hand during tough times and that is essentially the role of Wyoming’s long-term care ombudsman. The ombudsman serves as an advocate for …

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Guest Column

Long-term care ombudsman available to help with concerns

Posted

It’s always good to have friends willing to lend a hand during tough times and that is essentially the role of Wyoming’s long-term care ombudsman. The ombudsman serves as an advocate for those who live in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities, and seeks to resolve concerns between residents and the facilities themselves.

In short, if long-term care facility residents or their families are upset with something going on at their assisted living facility or nursing home, the ombudsman can engage to help, and do so at no charge. Those issues can be everything from finding a nursing home resident available services, to a complaint about the nursing home serving cold food at dinner.

I love advocating for residents and teaching them to advocate for themselves. A couple years ago, I had a gentleman call me, saying that a local service would not provide transportation for his mother to-and-from the wound clinic if she moved from her nursing home back  home. The service told him that she needed to stay in the nursing home and was better off there.

I met with the man and his mother. The mother wanted to go home, but would need transportation to and from the hospital for wound care. 

With permission from the resident, I met with the transportation service director and discussed the resident’s rights and wishes. The director hesitantly agreed to offer transportation. The nursing home also did some education with the family and the facility’s social worker helped the son apply for disability. The transportation service and a local service provider even helped the family find an apartment with wheelchair accessibility.

Ombudsman is a Swedish word meaning “resident representative,” and that is exactly what we do. The goal of the Wyoming Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is to improve the quality of life for long-term care residents and/or recipients.

We ask questions, provide information, and work with facilities, organizations and agencies to increase their responsiveness to the people they serve. With the residents consent an ombudsman acts on behalf of persons who need help advocating for themselves.

If you have a question, issue or concern about your or a loved one’s care in a nursing home, assisted living or boarding home or someone receiving long-term care services, give us a call or send us an email. 

If we can’t help, we can help point you in the right direction.

(Patty Hall is the state’s long-term care ombudsman and can be reached at patricia.hall1@wyo.gov or 307-777-2885. She is based in Cheyenne. The lead regional ombudsman, covering Park County, the rest of the Big Horn Basin and beyond, is Lisa Barrett. Based in Riverton, Barrett can be reached by emailing lisa.barrett@wyo.gov or by calling 307-856-6880 or 800-856-4398.)

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