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Longtime Damascus residents Bob and Bonnie Gardner were recently appointed to serve as a certified ombudsman team to monitor long-term care facilities in Oregon City.

Mary Jaeger, the long-term-care ombudsman for the state of Oregon, said the Gardners will help ensure local residents receive the best possible care. Jaeger expects the couple, who share a background in real estate and management, to investigate all concerns and complaints objectively. While protecting rights, safety and dignity, they will strive to seek solutions that address residents' concerns.

The Gardners received 48 hours of training before assignment to Oregon City facilities. In Clackamas County, there were approximately 256 complaints during 2011, most frequently regarding eviction, medications, food and gross neglect at 70 large nursing homes, assisted living and residential care facilities, along with approximately 130 adult foster homes.

Volunteers are an important part of the ombudsman program, and more are needed in all areas statewide. Call 1-800-522-2602 or visit oregon.gov/LTCO for more information on becoming a certified ombudsman, or to report a concern about a facility.

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