What is the time commitment
required of Certified Ombudsman volunteers? Do they sometimes
need more than that to do the job? What do the required hours include?
Per Oregon statues, volunteers are
asked to commit to 16 hours per month when they can be available at times to
meet the resident’s needs, including during weekday business hours. Ideally this would include visiting
residents, follow up phone calls, reporting and travel to/from facilities. There are times when volunteers do spend more
time on a particular case or resident, but there is flexibility when you
volunteer. You can set your schedule and
we ask that volunteers do not make visits at the same time, or on the same day
of the week. Some volunteers donate much
more time to the program, but the average is 5-10 hours a week
Volunteers can request a leave of absence for vacations or illness.
What kind of authority does a
Certified Ombudsman have at his/her facility?
Once volunteers complete their
background check, training, and pass their exam, they are certified as
representatives of the State of Oregon. They have the authority to go into
their assigned facility at any time.
Additionally, CO’s are sometimes asked to do a back up to a facility
where no CO is assigned and are entitled to the same access rights. In their role
as Ombudsman, they are mandatory reporters of abuse and neglect. Our agency does not investigate or resolve
any cases of abuse or neglect, but refers these issues directly to APS (Adult
How does a Certified Ombudsman
introduce him/herself to the residents in the facilities to which he/she
Certified Ombudsmen are issued a name
badge and will have a letter of introduction sent to their assigned facility. (Typically the Ombudsman will knock on the
residents’ door, and introduce himself or herself to the resident. The specifics are left up to the volunteers,
as everyone’s style is different. The
goal is to inform the resident that the Ombudsman works for the state, and is
there to help advocate for the resident.) The Ombudsman will visit the
residents and establish a relationship with them. It may take a few visits for the residents to
understand and trust the Ombudsman before bringing any concerns to them. Issues about communicating with the elderly,
staff, and families and case studies are presented at training.
How is an Ombudsman assigned
to facilities? Is assignment to facilities that are close to
the volunteer’s home a priority?
CO's are assigned using two main
factors: where we have a need for
volunteers and the volunteers’ preference.
If the volunteer would prefer to have an assignment close to them we'll
make every effort as long as there's a facility available. However, some volunteers prefer to visit a
facility near their work or in another community.
When do trainings take
place? Where are they held? Are there five or six full days of
training over how many weeks? What topics are covered in each session? What
kind of test is given at the end?
Trainings take place quarterly in the
Portland Metro area, and statewide several times a year (the specific training
schedule can be found on our website at www.oregon.gov/LTCO. Locations are chosen based on the following
factors: conveniencefor our volunteers, trainer, and cost
to the agency. Training consists of 5 in-class days. The standard training schedule is two days of
training each week, with a one week break between days four and five. This break is to allow the trainee to go out
on a facility visit with a Certified Ombudsman.
Topics covered include medical terms, types of facilities, rules and
regulations, communication and negotiation.
Volunteers are given a great deal of resource information and are not
expected to memorize it,but rather to know where to find the
information. An open book, take home exam is given for the volunteer to return
before being certified.
What is the role of the deputies? Do
all of the deputies or just one supervise volunteers?
The deputies are assigned to geographic areas of the
state, as well as taking turns being the deputy answering incoming calls to the
office. The deputies act as a coach and
resource for the CO’s, as well as provide additional support in difficult
cases. Monthly team meetings are
provided by the deputy assigned to the region and offer the Ombudsman an
opportunity to interact with other volunteers
. We currently have six deputies who are
responsible for 43,000 beds across the state
Who directs the Office of the Long-Term
Care Ombudsman, and how was that person chosen? What is her background?
Jaeger is the State Ombudsman. The
Governor appointed her for a four-year term from a list of
candidates brought forward by various agencies and entities
involved in the field of aging in Oregon.
Mary Jaeger holds masters degrees in Public Administration and
Gerontology and has background in advocacy, over ten years
experience in non-profit management, as well as over ten years in long-term
care facility experience.
What is the most common complaint
from facility residents, and how is it normally handled?
The most common complaint is
neglect. This includes a variety of
scenarios; from call lights not being answered to needs of the resident being unmet. If the Ombudsman determines that the neglect
rises to the level of abuse, the matter is reported to Adult Protective
Services. If the matter can be resolved within the facility, the Ombudsman
works with the staff and administration with the primary goal being to protect
the rights and dignity of the resident.
The role of the Ombudsman is not to create an adversarial environment
but to effectively advocate for the resident.
What is the typical day of an
A typical day would include visiting a
facility and meeting with the residents, or following up on a previous case
with phone calls made from home, or meeting with facility staff. Volunteers have a great deal of discretion
over when and where they make their facility visits, so a typical day can be
flexible more than anything else!
When and where are the monthly support
group meetings? Who chairs them, and what topics are covered?
The monthly support group meetings are
typically held for two hours. The
location and time varies depending on the area and availability of the
volunteers and staff. However, most
meetings are on a set schedule. (i.e.
The second Thursday of every month.) The Deputy will lead the meeting and
topics covered might be changes in laws or regulations, new research on aging,
presentations about community resources, and the like.
What are the requirements for continuing
education, and how can they be met?
Continuing education is presented at
the monthly support group meetings, or volunteers can suggest an opportunity
they can attend on their own with approval from a Deputy. The training department is currently
developing online and self-paced training modules.
How many Certified Ombudsmen are there
currently in Oregon?
As of April 2012 there are currently
190 CO's in Oregon and more are needed in every County. Optimally, we need nearly 400 volunteers
statewide, especially in Eastern Oregon.
How long has the LTCO program been in
LTCO program has been in existence since the 1960's nationally as a result of
the older Americans act. Every state has
an Ombudsman program but are structured differently. The program began in Oregon in 1981.
many people are served each year by the LTCO program?
our last reporting period (October to September), we made over 13,000 visits to
residents in licensed long-term care facilities. These are a combination of responses to
complaints or concerns made to our office or regular visits. Of those 13,000, over 90 percent were made
by volunteers across the state. Local
volunteers are the key to timely visits and effective advocacy.
How many people are in LTC in Oregon?
There are approximately 43,000
residents in Long-term care facilities around the state. These facilities include nursing homes,
residential care facilities, assisted living facilities, and adult foster care
homes. Specific information can be found
on our website at www.oregon.gov/LTCO.