Ombudsman Spotlight

How long have you been an ombudsman?                                                                                               

3.5 years

 What made you want to become an ombudsman?

I started off my career in aging services as an ombudsman and have recently returned to my roots. Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to work at an adult day care program, Single Entry Point case management, Adult Protection, and Director of the Area Agency on Aging. All of these professions have afforded me the tools to be equipped for the advocacy and mediation required of ombudsman. I really enjoy working with residents of long-term care facilities.  I want to help promote the voice of residents and their rights, so they can have the best quality of life.

What surprised you most about being an ombudsman?

For individuals residing outside of facilities we often take for granted on a daily basis our rights afforded to us. Yet residents of facilities have to fight continually to ensure their rights are not violated. There seems to be a societal misconception that residents don’t have rights. Residents don’t give up their rights once they enter a long-term care facility. Not only do they have the same rights, but they are guaranteed additional rights as well.

What do you most enjoy about being an ombudsman?

I enjoy building honest and authentic relationships with residents. I get excited when residents find their voice and feel empowered to speak up for themselves. It is rewarding to see success in my advocacy efforts even if they are small successes.

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

During the pandemic, I worked to get tablets into facilities to improve ombudsman communication with residents as well as to help reduce social isolation and loneliness.

This past year, I have been working on improving the quantity and quality of our data. It is important to be able to show and tell the great work our ombudsman do in the region at a local, state, and national level.

In the coming year, I will be working on our education and outreach efforts within facilities and local communities. We will be using various media to create an awareness of the long-term care ombudsman program.

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

“You might have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” ~Margaret Thatcher

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