By Patricia Hall - Wyoming's Long Term Care Ombudsman
It's always good to have friends willing to lend a hand during tough times and that is essentially the role of Wyoming’s Long Term Care Ombudsman. The Ombudsman serves as an advocate for those who live in long term care facilities, such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities, and seek to resolve concerns between residents and the facilities themselves.
In short, if long term care facility residents or their families are upset with something going on at their assisted living facility or nursing home, the Ombudsman can engage to help, and do so at no charge.Those issues can be everything from finding a nursing home resident available services, to a complaint about the nursing home serving cold food at dinner.
I love advocating for residents and teaching them to advocate for themselves. A couple years ago, I had a gentleman call me saying that a local service would not provide transportation for his mother to-and-from the wound clinic if she moved from her nursing home back home. The service told him that she needed to stay in the nursing home and was better off there.
I met with the man and his mother. The mother wanted to go home, but would need transportation to and from the hospital for wound care. With permission from the resident, I met with the transportation service director and discussed the resident’s rights and wishes. The director hesitantly agreed to offer transportation. The nursing home also did some education with the family and the facility’s social worker helped the son apply for disability. The transportation service and a local service provider even helped the family find an apartment with wheelchair accessibility.
Ombudsman is a Swedish work meaning “resident representative,” and that is exactly what we do. The goal of the Wyoming Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is to improve the quality of life for long-term care residents and/or recipients.
We ask questions, provide information, and work with facilities, organizations and agencies to increase their responsiveness to the people they serve. With the residents consent an ombudsman acts on behalf of persons who need help advocating for themselves.
If you have a question, issue or concern about your or a loved one's care in a Nursing Home, Assisted Living or Boarding Home or someone receiving Long-Term Care services give us a call or send us an email. If we can’t help we can help point you in the right direction.
Patty Hall is the state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-777-2885.
The regional ombudsman for Wyoming include:
Counties: Big Horn, Washakie, Park, Hot Springs, Fremont, Sublette, Lincoln, Teton
Phone: (307)856-6880 or (800)856-4398
Counties: Sheridan, Johnson, Campbell, Crook, Weston, Natrona, Converse
Phone: (307)235-5959 or (877)634-1006
Counties: Laramie, Goshen, Niobrara, Platte, Albany, Carbon, Sweetwater, Uinta
Phone: (307)634-1010 or (877)634-1005
Learn more about the Wyoming Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program online: https://health.wyo.gov/admin/long-term-care-ombudsman-program/ or call 1-800-856-4398.