Ombudsman Spotlight

How long have you been an ombudsman?  20 years

What made you want to become an ombudsman?

If I’m being honest, I don’t think I knew that I wanted to be an Ombudsman. I had been working as a case manager trying to help a client in an assisted living home keep her dog, the ALR would not work with me and were insistent that this resident give up her dog. The resident was heartbroken.

I reached out to the Ombudsman and within two days the Ombudsman was able to get a plan in place for the ALR to work with the resident and keep her dog. I was so impressed with the ability the Ombudsman had to impact this woman’s quality of life in such a meaningful way, I knew then that it was a career I wanted to know more about. Twenty years later, here I am.

What surprised you most about being an ombudsman?

How hard it is. I never suspected that advocating on behalf of a resident to have the most basic of rights would be something met with some much resistance. Just because there are no regulations that say “do the right thing” doesn’t mean that not doing the right thing is acceptable.

What do you most enjoy about being an ombudsman?

The residents. As much hard as we see in a day, we also get to see so much good, and funny, and “you can’t make this stuff up”. There is never a dull day, it truly never gets boring.

Tell us 2-3 positive changes you are working to achieve in the communities that you serve.

Much of the work I have done over the years is from regulatory changes that provide residents with greater protection and rights. I helped do a total overhaul of the ALR regulations, testifying before the board of health numerous times. I am now involved with new rule revisions directed by legislation from last year as it relates to Alzheimer’s training to NH and ALR staff and more rights for ALR residents facing discharge.

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you in your work as an advocate?

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” — Chuck Swindoll

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