Worried About Nursing Home Neglect?

It's Wednesday morning, time for Sharon Moore's weekly visit to Tyler's Clairmont Nursing Home. Moore is not related to the resident she's visiting--Bess Stefehagen. She is here to make sure everything is okay.

"I see, I hear and I smell--on their behalf," Moore explains. "Should there be a reason in any of those areas I will take action with the staff."

Sharon is called a Ombudsman. Trained by the state, Ombudsmen serve as advocates for nursing home patients. "I know if I do have problems, I can call her and she would be here to help," Bess explains.

If there's a problem, Sharon will take it up with the staff. If there's abuse or neglect, she'll report it to the state. She's a neutral, unbiased person who keeps an open eye for any problems.

The kind of help Ronny Snow wishes his cousin Stanley had. Paralyzed, Stanley is recovering from second and third degree burns after bating in scalding water at a Tyler nursing home's therapeutic tub. "He was totally dependant on that nursing homes care and to let this happen to him, to sit there and have those burns," Snow said.

Not all cases are that severe. Often the Ombudsmen helps solve simple problems like, food service or janitorial care. But in the end, for most patients, the reassurance that someone who cares is looking out for their needs means more than anything.

If your interested in becoming a volunteer or would like more information about finding one for a nursing home, please call 1-800-442-8845.