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Advocacy Program For Elderly In Long Term Care Seek Volunteers - KOAM TV 7

Advocacy Program For Elderly In Long Term Care Seek Volunteers

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A National and Federal Non-Profit Organization that provides free One-on-One support to the elderly is seeking more volunteers in Southeast Kansas.

Ombudsman. Julie Lloyd hadn't heard of the term either, but now she spends countless hours a week helping people in nursing homes like this one in Southeast Kansas. The Federal and State run program helps those in Long Term Care homes like Nursing Homes have someone to talk to or to act on their behalf if they have no one else. 

"It makes me feel good, to know that especially the ones that don't have anybody else to see them, that advocated for them," Lloyd said.
 
Judie took over 30 hours of training from legal rights to conflict management for her role as an Ombudsman volunteer. Something Gina Elliott who serves as one of nine Regional Ombudsman in the state of Kansas. Elliott alone is responsible for over 11 Kansas Counties. She says having volunteers like Judie is so vital to ensure residents at homes like these get the help they deserve. 

"A resident may not feel like they can speak to us, because they don't know us, but they get to know the volunteers so they build that relationship with them, and they feel more confident speaking to them about their problems," Elliott said.
 
According to Elliot, across her 11 County area, there are only 10 volunteers currently helping. And she says that more are truly needed. In fact, Judie is the only Ombudsman in the city of Pittsburg.

"It really surprised me, and the fact that I'm the only ombudsman in Pittsburg, and between here and Frontenac, and Arma and Girard, there are no other ombudsmen," Lloyd said.

And according to some area nursing home administrators, it isn't just residents who benefit from having ombudsman like Judie around.

"It's so great to have the ombudsman come in and sit down and be just that buffer of saying 'I hear what you're saying, I hear what you're saying, and then may come up with some new ideas that we never thought of," said Shelley Gromer, VP of Operations at Guest Home Estates in Pittsburg.
 
"We strongly encourage it, everybody needs a friend," said  Long Term Care Administrator WIlliam Griffitt. 

And in dealing with issues ranging from legal advice, room satisfaction, food or even just a friendly face; this little known term has a big impact on the lives of the elderly across the state of Kansas.

Elliott says ombudsman volunteer training in Southeast Kansas will take place sometime after the first of the year. 

For more information on the program:

State of Kansas
Office of the State
Long-Term Care Ombudsman
900 SW Jackson, Suite 1041
Topeka, Kansas 66612

Phone: 785-296-3017
Toll Free: 1-887-662-8362
Fax: 785-296-3916

Regional LTCC Ombudsman: 1-620-230-0743


Or visit Http://www.kansasombudsman.ks.gov


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