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, mostly 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 always make their 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
5-8 hours a week We ask new volunteers to make a one year committent to the program once they are certified. Volunteers can request a leave of
absence for vacations, illness or other personal matters. You may need to retrain depending on the
length of time away as a volunteer.
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 to fulfill their Ombudsman duties. They
have statutory authority to go into their assigned facility at any time, and
advocate for the rights and dignity of the resident. Additionally, a Certified Ombudsman (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.
does a Certified Ombudsman introduce him/herself to the residents in the
facilities to which he/she is assigned?
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 is there to 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 (this is part of why we request a long-term
volunteer commitment). Issues about
communicating with the elderly, staff, and families and case studies are
presented at training.
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 where they may already travel or in another community. Mileage reimbursements are available for travel that occurs during the course of one's work as a CO.
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 generally take place once a
month, scheduled around the state (the specific training schedule can be found
on our website).
consists of 5 in-class days, spread over three or four weeks and a facility
visit with another staff member or volunteer mentor. Training 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 and how to apply it. An open book,
take home exam is given for the volunteer to return before being
certified. Volunteers can expect to begin actively
volunteering with residents about 30 days after completing day five of
is the role of the deputies? Do all of the deputies or just one supervise
There are seven Deputy State Long-Term Care Ombudsmen and six are assigned to geographic areas of the state. The deputies act as a coach and resource for the CO’s, provide additional support in difficult cases, and review case reports submitted by volunteers. Monthly team meetings are provided by the deputy assigned to the region and offer the Ombudsman an opportunity to interact with other volunteers, receive continuing education and discuss cases. You can view the bios of our staff and a current district map on our website.
Who directs the Office of the Long-Term
Care Ombudsman, and how was that person chosen? What is their background?
The Oregon Long-Term Care State Ombudsman is appointed by
the Governor for a four-year term from a list of candidates brought forward by the Residential Facilities Advisory Committee, with input from various agencies and entities involved in the field of aging in Oregon. Beside being the agency director, the State
Long-Term Care Ombudsman also advises the Governor and Legislature on long-term
care issues. You can find out more about the State Ombudsman on our website.
is the most common complaint from facility residents, and how is it
The most common complaint is about food
quality. Other common issues are from a
variety of scenarios; from call lights not being answered in a timely manner to needs of the
resident being unmet, billing problems, and medication administration errors. If
the matter can be resolved within the facility, the CO works with the staff and
administration with the primary goal being to protect the rights and dignity of
the resident. The role of the CO is not
to make decisions or create an adversarial environment but to effectively advocate for what the resident wants. You can view more about our top ten complaints here.
is the typical day of an Ombudsman?
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? Is there additional training?
The monthly support group meetings are
typically held for two hours monthly except for July and December. 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 for that area 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.
If resources allow there is a statewide training event annually. Information about this can be found on our
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?
At any given time, there are 140-150 active volunteers statewide, but we are always in need of more,
especially in rural areas, the Oregon Coast, and Central and 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?
are over 45,000 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.
How long after I attend training will I
If you have complete all portions of your training (exam, facility visit, signed contract and contact form), the
paperwork and processing takes 2-4 weeks.
If you would like to apply, download an application packet here. When you return it to our office, we will contact you regarding the next steps.
Please check the local training dates to make sure you can attend all five days.