Updated September, 2013
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?
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 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
5-8 hours a week Volunteers can request a leave of
absence for vacations or illness.
kind of authority does a Certified Ombudsman have at his/her facility?
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, 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 Protective Services).
does a Certified Ombudsman introduce him/herself to the residents in the
facilities to which he/she is assigned?
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.
is an Ombudsman assigned to facilities? Is assignment to
facilities that are close to the volunteer’s home a priority?
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.
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?
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
We make every effort to provide local trainings for a group of
volunteers, or are reimbursed for travel expenses if they attend training
outside of their community. Training consists of 5 in-class days, spread
over three or four weeks. 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 and how to apply it. An open book, take home exam is given for the
volunteer to return before being certified.
is the role of the deputies? Do all of the deputies or just one supervise
There are six Deputy State Long-Term Care Ombudsmen and
they are assigned to geographic areas of the state. 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
Who directs the Office of the Long-Term
Care Ombudsman, and how was that person chosen? What is her background?
. You can view
the bios of our staff and a current
district map here.
Mary 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
is the most common complaint from facility residents, and how is it
most common complaint is about food quality.
Other common issues are from 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.
is the typical day of an Ombudsman?
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?
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. If
resources allow there is a statewide training event. Information about this can be found on our
What are the requirements for continuing
education, and how can they be met?
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?
there are 175-200 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 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.
How long after I attend training will I
After training you must
complete your certification exam and make a facility visit with a staff member
or volunteer mentor. Usually, the
paperwork and processing takes 2-4 weeks.
If you would like to apply, go to our application page here.