Local Ombudsman Program Could Be a Creative Solution to Preventing Nursing Home Abuse Nationwide
Nursing Home Abuse and the Ombudsman
Nursing home abuse takes many forms and is on the rise. One prevalent example is over-drugging, especially of Alzheimer’s patients. For too long, this form of elder abuse was off the radar of regulators and largely ignored (if not encouraged) by nursing home administrators. When these types of things happen, we look to organizations, such as the nursing home industry itself, and regulatory systems, such as the federal government, to help steer us onto the correct path. Government-sponsored ombudsmen programs were one attempt to do just that.
The Local Ombudsman Program
An ombudsman is an individual hired to investigate potential abuse and also advocate for the elder. While that seems like it should be enough, oftentimes it is not. That is what local Ventura County, California community members thought too, when they created a local ombudsman program. This program visits nursing homes once a week, ensuring the safety and protection of elders residing there. Long Term Care Services of Ventura County oversees the program.
The program started with 3 individuals, and has now expanded dramatically. The ombudsman assumes a significant role in seniors’ lives and vetting volunteers consists of an FBI background check. Additionally, the training required is one full week from 9:00AM-4:00PM and happens only once per year.
The program also makes suggestions to nursing homes, such as conducting interviews with the patients to hear their story, eliminate over-drugging patients who are not harming themselves or others, and other more general practice suggestions.
What This Could Mean
Essentially, any one person or community of people with a strong passion for ensuring nursing home quality could make a difference. With this type of thinking and initiative, we hope to see this program spread through the state of California, in counties such as Santa Clara, and throughout the nation as well.
If you or a loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse in Santa Clara County or in any California county, contact the Evans Law Firm elder attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our attorneys have experience with complex financial contracts and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.