Ombudsman Spotlight

Photograph of Erica Corson

How long have you been an ombudsman?  I started working as an ombudsman at the Boulder County Area Agency on Aging in October of 2009.

What made you want to become an ombudsman?

I have always worked with older adults. I started my career doing case management for elderly, blind and disabled Medicaid clients. After working as a discharge planner at a hospital and as the Administrator of an Assisted Living, I found my place as an ombudsman. While it was an adjustment to work with residents on achieving their expressed interest rather than best interest as in my previous work, it was also a natural fit and quickly became work that I find critical to the quality of life for residents of assisted livings and nursing homes. The work of LTC ombudsmen in the lives of LTC residents and their loved ones has only become more important over the years as the aging population increases and the LTC world becomes more visible, I am glad to be a part of it.

What surprised you most about being an ombudsman?

We sometimes find ourselves advocating for things that we may never have thought we would support. But when you are really listening to a person who has had lost so much and has so little control over their lives, those things become all the more important.

What do you most enjoy about being an ombudsman?

What can be challenging work where there seem to be few victories, the times when we accomplish what a resident wants feels really good. Even when we can’t get everything resolved, knowing that residents feel supported is priceless.

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

Equal attention paid to the day to day needs of residents-their priorities, as to infection control (that became the #1 priority during COVID) and the goals of the LTC homes.
Improved communication from LTC homes from initial tours and admission through to care conferences and response to concerns.
Appropriate discharge – planning, communication, etc.

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

I have a lot of quotes so it’s hard to choose just one, probably the things that really inspire me are things that residents say.

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