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People Inc. Wins Bid to Coordinate NYS Long Term Care Ombudsman Program Locally

Agency Committed to Improving an Already Strong Program

People Inc., Western New York’s leading health and human services agency, was recently selected by The New York State Office for the Aging to operate the New York State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program in Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties. The agency was selected through a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process and began operating the program earlier this month.

 

The move comes as part of The Office for the Aging’s efforts to revamp,  revitalize and reorganize the program statewide, dividing the state into 15 regions and selecting 15 organizations to operate the programs within them. The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program provides resources and advocates for older adults who live in nursing homes, assisted living and other licensed adult care homes. Ombudsmen help residents understand and exercise their rights to good care in an environment that promotes and protects their dignity and quality of life.

 

People Inc. was founded in 1971 and helps our community’s most vulnerable people, individuals with developmental disabilities and special needs and senior adults, lead more healthy, independent and productive lives. It operates 180 locations in nine counties and employs 3,400 people. The agency has been supporting seniors in the markets it serves for 22 years, including operating 19 senior housing facilities, a senior companion program and a day program for seniors.

“Coordinating this program is a natural for us because it builds on our history of advocacy and our work with senior adults,” said People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick. “We are proud to bring our resources and experience to this program that does so much to protect the health, safety and well-being of those who live in long term care facilities. We are committed to continuing the great work that has already been done.”

 

The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is mandated federally by the Older Americans Act and requires every state to have a program that advocates on behalf of residents in skilled nursing or assisted living facilities. The program’s goal is to address concerns of residents, be a trusted resource and advocate for positive changes in the long term care system.

The heart of the program is the core group of volunteers called Ombudsmen. Ombudsmen go through comprehensive training to be certified to listen to, investigate and resolve complaints on behalf of long-term care residents. Ombudsmen routinely visit long term care facilities to ensure the needs of the residents are being met. Ombudsmen meet with residents, their family and friends and facility staff.

 

Inspired by his father’s move into a skilled nursing facility, Joe Cal, a retiree and resident of Orchard Park, NY, has been an Ombudsman for the past eight and a half years. He says it is a role that is uniquely rewarding.

 

“You get more out of it than you put in, and when you leave for the day you know you have really done something to help someone,” said Cal. “We are not there to be adversaries, we are advocates, mediators and partners who appreciate the backgrounds and experiences of residents and want them to know that we have their backs. There is something really wonderful about being the person who has someone’s back. Words cannot describe it.”

 

As part of its new role coordinating the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, People Inc. is looking to add to the already 100 volunteers who support the program and is offering comprehensive training at convenient times for working adults. With a minimum commitment of two hours per week, Ombudsmen have the ability to decide the days and the times they work. Ombudsmen are also well supported after the training ends.

 

If you would like to learn more about becoming an Ombudsman, call 716.817.9222.

 

1219 North Forest Road | P.O. Box 9033 | Williamsville, New York 14231
Phone: 716.817.7400 | Toll Free NY 1.888.7PEOPLE | Fax: 716.634.3889

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