The Oregon The Long Term Care Ombudsman Office (LTCO) was established in 1981 and became an independent state agency in 1985.
The agency is charged with the goal of protecting Oregon’s seniors who reside in long term care facilities. Its mission is “to enhance the quality of life, improve the level of care, protect the individual’s rights and promote dignity.”
Long term care facilities monitored by the LTCO include
- nursing homes,
- residential care facilities,
- assisted living facilities and
- adult foster care homes.
No matter where a senior lives, the LTCO is directed by state statute to investigate problems and complaints reported by seniors or their families. The LTCO is also charged with the responsibility to advocate on behalf of seniors to make sure that each citizen has the best quality of life and care possible.
The LTCO is under the direction of Mary Jaeger, State Ombudsman. Ms. Jaeger reports directly to the Governor.
Oregon’s LTCO relies heavily on volunteers
In order to respond adequately to inquiries and complaints about long tern care facilities, the LTCO has designated Certified Ombudsman Volunteers who are trained to investigate and resolve issues at more than 2200 long term care facilities in the state.
The volunteers work with the agency’s staff and report their findings to both state and federal authorities.
In 2009 more than 2600 complaints were investigated. All volunteers participate in a six-day training program and are also required to attend 10 hours of continuing education every year.
Currently the LTCO is staffed by 6 full time Deputy State Ombudsman and 125 Certified Ombudsmen volunteers.
Complaints cover a wide range of issues
The complaints investigated by the LTCO cover a wide range of issues. When reporting their investigations, volunteers must categorize the complaints under 132 different codes which are standardized by the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency within the Federal Health and Human Services department.
The most frequent complaints investigated by the LTCO involve the quality and quantity of food and food choices at long term care facilities. After that complaints can involve problems with medications, neglect or abuse and lack of respect for facility residents.
Long term care is a growing concern as Americans age. Post your comments, questions and opinions and “subscribe” above to get the latest news. Make your voice heard