Ask an Ombudsman

Volunteers advocating for Florida’s long-term care residents answer your questions regarding the health, safety, welfare, and rights of residents in long-term care facilities.

Sponsored by: Sam Golden, Ronnie Ostrow and Pauline Ogus Aberdeen’s Certified Ombudsman

Q: Who runs the Ombudsman Program?
A: Florida’s Ombudsman Program is administered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. The State Ombudsman is responsible for the overall functioning of the program. He does so through 17 district offices located throughout the state. A District Ombudsman Manager runs each local office. How-ever, the Ombudsman Program relies on volunteers to carry out the program’s mission of advocacy. The Ombudsman Program has over 300 certified volunteer ombudsmen ready and willing to advocate for long-term care residents.

For more information about the Ombudsman Program, visit the program’s website at http://ombudsman.myflorida.com

Q: Can I volunteer with the Ombudsman Program? Are there any prerequisites to become a volunteer ombudsman?
A: ABSOLUTELY! The Ombudsman Program is always seeking volunteers to help advocate for residents! Interested applicants can submit an application, which is found on the program’s website, or by calling 1-888-831-0404.

Although prior professional experience is beneficial, one does not need experience in any particular field to become a volunteer ombudsman. You will receive all the information you need to know about advocating for long-term care residents during your certification training. As a certified ombudsman, you will also have the support of your local district office at any time.

Ms. Stania Rodriquez is the regional manager for Palm Beach Council Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

To ask for an ombudsman’s assistance, learn more about the program, or to become a volunteer ombudsman, toll-free at 1-888-831-0404.

Ask an Ombudsman

Volunteers advocating for Florida’s long-term care residents answer your questions regarding the health, safety, welfare, and rights of residents in long-term care facilities.

Sponsored By: Aberdeen’s Resident Long Term Care Certified Ombudsman
Pauline Ogus, Sam Golden, Ronnie Ostrow and Marty Weissman

Q: What is a Long-Term Care Ombudsman?
A: An ombudsman is a specially-trained and certified volunteer who has been given authority under federal and state law to identify, investigate and re-solve complaints made by, or on behalf of, long-term care facility residents. Ombudsmen respond to resident complaints and concerns ranging from issues with medication and care administration to matters of dignity and respect. It is the ombudsman’s role to protect the legal rights of residents and assure that they receive appropriate treatment and quality care. The experience of being helped by an ombudsman is often comforting. Our volunteers offer direct assistance to those who need and request it, and strive to resolve concerns with warmth and professionalism.

Q: What if I have a concern about Long-Term Care?
A: Anyone can report a concern, including residents, relatives, friends, facility staff, legal representatives and other concerned citizens. Complaints may be related to the facility, its employees, or any agency or person that threatens or violates the rights, health, safety or welfare a resident.

Complaints filed with the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program are kept completely confidential, unless permission is given by the resident or complainant to disclose related information. Details of the complaint are documented and the case is as-signed to a local ombudsman for investigation. The ombudsman contacts the complainant or resident within seven calendar days and begins a thorough investigation. Once all facts are verified, the ombudsman takes appropriate action by advocating for the best possible solution that satisfies the resident.

Ms. Stania Rodriguez is the District Manager for the Palm Beach County Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

To ask for an Ombudsman’s assistance, learn more about the program, or to become a volunteer ombudsman, call the District Office at 561-837-5038 or toll-free at 1-888-831-0404.

Ask an Ombudsman

“Aberdeen’s volunteers advocating for Florida’s long-term care residents answer your questions regarding the health, safety, welfare, and rights of residents in long-term care facilities.”

By: Aberdeen’s Certified Long-Term Care Ombudsman: Sam Golden, Pauline Ogus, Ronnie Ostrow and Martin Weissman

Q: My father is in an adult family care home. An old friend of his who lives near the facility visits him regularly. The owner of the facility says that every time the visit is over, my father gets agitated and angry. Can I write a letter to the owner telling him not to let this family member visit with my father?

A: Your father has the right to visit with whomever he chooses, even if the visitor makes him agitated or upset. No one can place limitations on who can or cannot visit your father other than your father himself. If he were not capable of expressing whether or not he desires a particular visitor, the decision would then fall to his Power of Attorney or guardian.

Florida Statute states that visitations for residents of adult family care homes can take place between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. at a minimum. However, special accommodations can be made if necessary.

Q: When my brother went into an assisted living facility, the administrator said that the facility had to be the one who took care of his money. He was an accountant for over 30 years. Are they allowed to do that?

A: According to the Residents’ Bill of Rights, residents have the right to “manage his/her own financial affairs unless the resident (or the resident’s legal representative) authorizes the administrator of the facility to provide safekeeping for funds.”

If your father has the ability and desire to manage his own money, he should be allowed to do so.

Ms. Stania Rodriquez is the District Ombudsman Manager for Palm Beach County Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

To ask for an ombudsman’s assistance, learn more about the program, or to become a volunteer ombudsman, call Stania at the Palm Beach County District Office at 561.837.5038 or toll-free at 1-888- 831-0404.

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