The elderly have always held a special place in Joanne Chan’s heart. She’s put this compassion to good use by volunteering for the Washington State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) operated through Multi-Service Center.
For the last three years, Joanne has visited two local long-term care facilities on a weekly basis. She talks with residents about any challenges they may be facing and distributes brochures on resident rights and LTCOP. She also follows up on specific complaints from these facilities that are received by the LTCOP complaint and information line. She does all of this while caring for her own aging parents and working as a hospice caretaker.
“This work is so rewarding,” says Joanne. She remembers her very first advocacy case was with a woman who was concerned about unexplained charges on her bill by the care facility. “I talked with the resident, talked with the accounting department, and with the directors of the facility. By closely scrutinizing her bill and working with the facility, we were able to reduce her monthly bill by $3,200.”
“The facilities may not always want us there because we may bring complaints to them, or bring up things that residents want changed, but in the same breath, they will say that when ombuds are there, things run better,” shared Joanne. “The facility management can’t see or hear everything that is going on, so they do recognize the value of LTCOP.”
LTCOP promotes and protects the rights of long-term care residents and utilizes 350 certified volunteer ombuds across the state. Ombuds are trained to receive complaints and resolve problems in situations involving quality of care, use of restraints, transfer and discharge, abuse, neglect, and other aspects of resident dignity and rights. If you are interested in learning about volunteering, please contact ltcop by email. To file a complaint or learn more about how to get help call 1.800.562.6028 or visit www.waombudsman.org.