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State honors ombudsman volunteers for helping older Minnesotans

As part of Resident Rights Month in October, the Minnesota Office of the Ombudsman for Long-Term Care is recognizing Minnesotans who volunteer to advocate for the rights of people living in long-term care facilities.

As part of Resident Rights Month in October, the Minnesota Office of the Ombudsman for Long-Term Care is recognizing Minnesotans who volunteer to advocate for the rights of people living in long-term care facilities.

Each year the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care designates the month as an opportunity to focus on and celebrate the awareness of dignity, respect and the rights of each resident.

"The Office of the Ombudsman for Long-Term Care cannot function effectively statewide without the help of certified ombudsmen, the volunteers who undergo extensive training and donate their time and skills to help make a positive difference in quality of life for many people," said Cheryl Hennen, Minnesota ombudsman for long-term care, in a news release.

Among those current certified ombudsmen based in the lakes area are Pat Loban of Pine River, Patricia McCormick of Merrifield, Lois Sowles of Aitkin and Jim Sowles of Aitkin.

At no cost to residents and their families, the ombudsmen advocate for residents in assisted living, residential care, nursing facilities and adult foster care facilities. The office helps to resolve disputes, complaints and problems relating to quality of care and services, quality of life, rights violations, access to services, service termination or discharge or eviction.

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People interested in volunteering to be ombudsman or who would like to reach an ombudsman may call the Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care, a program of the Minnesota Board on Aging, at 651-431-2555 or 1-800-657-3591.

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