Nursing home ombudsmen in short supply in Oklahoma

Tuesday, September 13th 2005, 6:13 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Officials estimate that Oklahoma nursing homes have a statewide shortage of more than 300 volunteer advocates.

These advocates -- or ombudsmen -- provide both simple services for lonely and needy elderly residents and act as frontline guardians to protect patient rights and safety.

Officials say advocates are needed a number of reasons, including that many female octogenarians have outlived their husbands and other family members and a growing number of Oklahoma grandparents are having to take care of their grandchildren.

Anna States is ombudsman supervisor for Oklahoma, Canadian, Cleveland and Logan counties. States says about 100 ombudsmen are needed in those four counties alone.

Statewide, officials would like to have ombudsmen regularly visit residents of Oklahoma's more than 350 nursing homes, assisted-living centers and residential-care homes.

Ombudsmen can investigate complaints about cold food, staff shortages, unsanitary conditions and violations of resident rights.