The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) is a state-funded advocacy program operated by Catholic Charities Senior & Caregiver Support Services across 10 counties of the Albany Diocese. LTCOP provides opportunities for residents and their loved ones to voice concerns and address problems that impact their quality of life and care.
Marty Delmonico (pictured below) is a proud Ombudsman and counts herself among a small but dedicated group of volunteers that help ensure the welfare of thousands of New York State long term care residents.
Marty Delmonico is no stranger to long term care facilities.
“I would visit my mom, who was in a nursing facility for eight years. I got familiar with the staff there and the way the nursing facility worked,” said Marty. “I realized after she passed that not everyone had the support my mother had.”
After retiring from a teaching career of over 30 years, Marty turned to volunteerism. She worked with schools providing tutoring and mentoring support before finally hearing about the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP).
“I heard about the program from a teacher friend of mine. I knew I was comfortable in a nursing home setting and I thought I
Ombudsmen do just that: they help residents of nursing homes and other long term care facilities. Through the LTCOP, trained volunteer Ombudsmen work with long term care residents and their loved ones to identify and then address any concerns around quality of life or quality of care. They act as an advocate and a liaison, working with the facility staff to see residents’ needs are met.
“It gives them a sense of autonomy over their situation,” explained Marty. “Sometimes they feel they don’t have any control, but you empower them and help them feel more independent – they can make decisions for themselves.”
While rewarding, serving as an Ombudsman is not without its challenges. From training to working with residents, Ombudsmen are creative, compassionate problem-solvers.
“The training was more than I thought it would be. It runs about a week, and you get a lot of information. It was intense in terms of expectations, which was good in the long run, because we have a responsibility for what we’re doing.
“Folks come from all walks of life – a director, a lawyer, a janitor. To me, they deserve respect and dignity and care. They deserve the best that we can do and being an Ombudsman is one thing I can do to help.”
Interested in becoming a Long Term Care Ombudsman?
We’re offering free, virtual training sessions this fall. Visit www.ccseniorservices.org or call Catholic Charities Senior and Caregiver Support Services at (518) 372-5667 for more information.