Ombudsmen resume in-person visits at long-term care facilities
January 20, 2021
Nearly 10 months after being suspended to minimize the spread of COVID-19, in-person visits to Minnesota’s long-term care facilities by regional ombudsmen are resuming.
“These in-person interactions are an important tool in our work to protect older and vulnerable Minnesotans,” says Cheryl Hennen, the State of Minnesota Ombudsmen for Long-Term Care. “This does not mean we’re ‘back to normal’,” Hennen says, “but it’s an important marker of progress in our response to this pandemic. “
Personal protective equipment has been issued to the regional ombudsmen, and they are regularly tested for COVID-19. They must also view training videos and pass a written screening prior to entering a facility.
“Residents are increasingly requesting in-person visits from the regional ombudsmen,” said Hennen. “Phone calls and electronic communication have worked as a short-term solution, but they are not the best way to provide the strong advocacy residents of Minnesota long-term care facilities expect and deserve.” Hennen consulted with the Departments of Health and Human Services as well as advocacy organizations about the resumption of in-person visits. She also notes that in-person visits may be suspended if infection trends worsen.
To contact the Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care, a program of the Minnesota Board on Aging:
• Call 651-431-2555 (metro) or 1-800-657-3591.
• Email MBA.OOLTC@state.mn.us.
The Ombudsman’s office provides free and confidential advocacy services.