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The Resident is the Ombudsman's boss

Who is a Certified Ombudsman?

Certified Ombudsmen (CO’s) are over 21, have passed a background check, and can volunteer at least 16 hours a month on a flexible schedule.  They may be employed or retired, but cannot have a conflict of interest with any long-term care facility.  By protecting the rights, dignity and safety of residents in nursing homes, residential care facilities, adult care homes and assisted living facilities, they help improve the quality of long-term care.   Many of our Certified Ombudsman volunteers have a background in healthcare, education, administration or law, but some are past accountants, current students, or even a chef!  They all have a passion for improving quality of care and advocating for the rights of residents.

 

What do they do?

They advocate, educate, and investigate.  After completing a rigorous training including classroom, testing, and a facility visit, they are assigned facilities and visit with residents on a regular basis.    Certified Ombudsman monitor resident care, staffing and building conditions and educate residents, families, and facility staff about resident's rights.  Abuse and neglect cases are referred to other agencies for resolution.  All Ombudsman services are free and confidential.

 

Why is there an Ombudsman program?

Created from the Older Americans Act of 1961, the Ombudsman program is in all 50 states.  Volunteers make our program very cost effective – currently utilizing over 200 volunteers statewide who work with 10.5 FTE staff.  Volunteers made nearly 90% of the 10,000+ visits we made to facilities last year.  We utilize administrative volunteers to help with recruitment and screening in several local communities, but the Certified Ombudsman (CO’s) volunteers are the heart of our program.  Optimally, our program would have 300 volunteers and we are actively recruiting around the state.

 

Where does an Ombudsman volunteer?

After training, Ombudsmen choose from available facilities close to where they live, work or visit.  

 

When do Ombudsman volunteer?

Certified Ombudsmen work independently with support of paid staff and choose their own schedule visiting their assigned facilities.  Most volunteer about 16-20 hours per month, including visits, reporting, and travel.

 

What kinds of benefits are there for volunteers?

Volunteers enjoy being able to make a direct impact on the quality of long-term care in their community, as well as being able to learn and navigate the systems.  They have a chance to use or learn new skills in advocacy, public speaking, and conflict resolution.  Training and continuing support is available monthly and at annual events.  Most of all, volunteers meet new people, keep active and find the work very rewarding.


Would you like to volunteer?  Download an application or see our FAQ's
Download a copy of this page here.