The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines paladin this way:
- a trusted military leader (as for a medieval prince)
- a leading champion of a cause
It’s the word that leaps to my mind when I think of the Kentucky long-term care ombudsman.
According to the Department for Aging and Independent Living, part of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), ombudsmen “work to resolve problems of individual residents and to bring about improvements in care through changes at the local, state, and national levels.” In a nutshell, they “provide a voice for those unable to speak for themselves.”
Here are the significant responsibilities of this important job, as stated on the CHFS website:
- identifying, investigating, and resolving complaints made by or on behalf of residents;
- providing information to residents about long-term care services;
- representing the interest of residents before governmental agencies and seeking administrative, legal, and other remedies to protect residents;
- analyzing, commenting on, and recommending changes in laws and regulations pertaining to the health, safety, welfare, and rights of residents;
- educating and informing consumers and the general public about long-term care issues and concerns and facilitating public comment on laws, regulations, policies, and actions;
- promoting development of citizen organizations to participate in the program;
- providing technical support to develop resident and family councils that protect the well-being and rights of residents; and
- advocating for changes to improve residents’ quality of life and care.
Now that’s a paladin.
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