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Ombudsman Program Communication and Advocacy During COVID-19 (June 23, 2020)

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In-person visitation restrictions intended to reduce the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) required Ombudsman programs to adapt quickly to ensure residents have access to program services. In-person visits with residents are a core part of Ombudsman program outreach and advocacy and there is no substitute for that connection and experience. However, during this crisis programs must use other means to connect with residents to provide information and respond to complaints. During this webinar presenters shared state and local examples of how to they are communicating with residents to make sure their experiences are heard and concerns are addressed.

Speakers: Carolyn Tenaglia, Northeast Region Ombudsman, Pennsylvania LTCOP; Kim Shetler, Northcentral Region Ombudsman, Pennsylvania LTCOP; Kim Palmore, Managing Local Ombudsman Texas LTCOP, Ark-Tex Council of Governments/Area Agency on Aging; Vicki Elting, Assistant State LTC Ombudsman, Washington State LTC Ombudsman Program; Beverley Laubert, Ohio State Long-Term Care Ombudsman; and Kathleen Heren, Rhode Island State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

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Four-Part Webinar Series

COVID-19 and Ombudsman Programs: Understanding How Trauma Impacts You, Residents, and Your Advocacy

In partnership with the Colorado Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, Consumer Voice and NORC offered a four-part webinar series regarding the impact of trauma due to the COVID-19 pandemic on long-term care residents and Ombudsman programs. The webinar series highlighted important themes related to trauma-informed care, person-centered care, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma. The series included case studies, self-reflection activities and exercises, and materials for attendees. 

Read Dr. Sheri Gibson's bio

The presenter, Dr. Sheri Gibson, received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Geropsychology from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS). She is an instructor and clinical supervisor for the Psychology Department at UCCS and a faculty affiliate with the UCCS Gerontology Center.  Dr. Gibson serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, is a member of the Research Committee for the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA), and a member of the Pikes Peak Elder Abuse Coalition. She has been recognized for her trainings on person-centered and trauma informed care approaches with older adults among professional programs such as Adult Protective Services, Area Agencies on Aging, long term care facilities, and community outreach Veteran services.

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Part I: April 29, 2020

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This webinar addressed person-centered, trauma-informed care. Highlights included:

  • What "person-centered care" and "trauma-informed" care means. 
  • Why person-centered care and trauma-informed care is critical in a crisis. 
  • The impact that re-traumatizing events can have on a trauma survivor, including residents, facility staff, and Ombudsman program representatives. 
  • How to recognize and respond to the effects of all types of trauma. 
  • The bio-psycho-social components of trauma-informed care to support survivors in rebuilding a sense of control and empowerment.
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Part II: May 20, 2020

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Materials

This webinar addressed compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma to help attendees:

  • Understand the differences between sympathy, empathy, and compassion. 
  • Understand the unique symptoms associated with and contributing factors leading to burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma. 
  • Recognize symptoms of compassion fatigue at the individual and organizational level and being able to identify negative outcomes if left untreated. 
  • Increase competency in implementing resilience strategies – at the individual level as well as the organizational level – to enhance self-awareness and prevent onset or worsening of symptoms.
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Part III: June 17, 2020

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Materials

This webinar addressed anxiety related to COVID-19, coping mechanisms, and tools for you and to help others. Dr. Gibson discussed coping strategies in response to COVID-19 related anxiety to assist Ombudsman programs and the residents you serve. She also highlighted two tools, a COVID-19 anxiety scale, and a coping tool that provides simple, practical steps to recognize and address anxiety.

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Part IV: July 29, 2020

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Additional Materials and Information Discussed During the Webinar:

This webinar addressed understanding and coping with grief during COVID-19.

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