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Nursing home residents using ombudsmen to voice complaints

It is never an easy process entrusting a nursing home facility to care for an aging loved one; however it is often the best choice for everyone involved when an elderly person needs more care than friends or family members can provide. There are many suitable nursing homes in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, there are also facilities that are overburdened or poorly managed, and these conditions can lead to nursing home neglect or abuse.

One way to prevent these problems is through an ombudsman. People working in this position can improve both the quality of care provided at a nursing home facility and the rights of the residents.

For many aging residents at nursing home facilities, it can be difficult to advocate for themselves. Because of that, residents often rely on another person to speak on his or her behalf. Ombudsmen provide residents the opportunity to speak with them about life, any concerns they might have about their health and care or issue any complaints for possible instances of elder abuse.

While some of the complaints verbalized to ombudsmen are simple and minute, such as locating their laundry or ensuring meals are delivered to them hot, others can be more complex and serious. Nursing home abuse could come in many forms and could result in great harm to a resident physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.

The goal of an ombudsman is to advocate for the nursing home resident, not for their family or the nursing home facility. Nonetheless, an ombudsman might find him or herself serving as a mediator between a resident and family member or a resident and the facility. Taking these measures helps ensures the interests and rights of the resident are met and protected.

If you believe that you or a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, it is important to understand that there are options made available. You might have recourses available to you. A civil action could help you obtain compensation for any losses or damages caused by neglect, abuse or even a death of a loved on in a nursing home facility.

Source: Recorder, “Nursing home ombudsmen provide company, help residents get what they need,” James Heflin, May 16, 2016

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