Local News

South Central Florida awards Ombudsman of the Year

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program’s South Central District has awarded its Ombudsman of the Year award to Verna Browning of Lake Placid. Browning has been a certified ombudsman since May 2009. Last year, Browning has conducted 20 complaint investigations and 19 resident-centered facility assessments. These duties ensure that someone is defending the rights of residents living in adult family care homes, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. District Manager, Terre Anne Lindstamer states, “Our council is very fortunate to have such a dedicated volunteer, who truly puts the needs of others before her own.” When asked what compelled her to become an Ombudsman, Ms. Browning replied, “I was raised to give of myself and I had several years prior to joining the Ombudsman Program caring for my husband with Alzheimer’s, so I knew I had compassion for the elderly. I wanted to volunteer when I had the time.” To what she likes most about volunteering for the Program she replies, “All the places I go and visit, the administration and nurses have a lot of respect for the Program. It’s nice to be welcomed no matter what my reason.” Ms. Browning has also traveled overseas with the Peace Corps and personal travel in 26 countries and 47 states.
A fellow ombudsman says, “Ms. Verna is a dedicated worker who leads by example. She is a perfect advocate for our residents.” It takes a special type of person to be an ombudsman. The situations one encounters while working with residents in long-term care can be challenging. The Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is proud to name Verna Browning as the South Central District Ombudsman of the Year for 2013. All program services, including individualized response to residents’ concerns, are free and confidential. Individuals interested in volunteering or learning more about Ms. Browning and the program may call toll-free 1-888-831-0404 or visit http://ombudsman.myflorida.com online.