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Michigan Ombudsman, Jerry Stevens, is Quoted in an Article on the Ombudsman Program

May 08, 2019

Michigan long-term care Ombudsman program representative, Jerry Stevens, discusses the Ombudsman program in an article published by the Herald Palladium. As a part of that systems-level work, Stevens serves on Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s Elder Abuse Task Force, and works to address systemic issues and craft policy solutions. An excerpt from the article is below and you can read the full article here.

Recognizing the vulnerability of residents in long-term care facilities, the federal government requires states to provide an independent ombudsman program tasked with advocating on behalf of residents, investigating complaints made by or on behalf of a resident, and assisting them in exercising their civil rights.

“Nursing home residents have the same rights as you and I. We want them to know there are advocates available to help ensure their rights are protected and their wishes followed,” local long-term care ombudsman Jerry Stevens says.

Stevens is a part of the Michigan Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and serves Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties. The program aims to improve the quality of care and quality of life experienced by the more than 100,000 Michiganders who reside in licensed long-term care facilities, which include nursing homes, adult foster care homes and assisted-living facilities.

“We work to ensure residents receive the quality of care and quality of life they deserve,” Stevens says.

Fielding complaints from 310 residents last year, Stevens reports issues run the gamut from food served cold to lost personal belongings to quality of care. The most often cited complaint in 2018 was quality of care, followed by resident rights and issues with the facility’s physical environment.

“We’re able to resolve close to 98 percent of resident complaints to their satisfaction,” Stevens says. “Often just getting facility staff to listen and understand the issues from the resident’s perspective is enough. Staff usually want to address the issues once they understand them.”

Read the full article here.