Watch a five minute video about our program
Who is a Certified Ombudsman?
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
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?
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 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.
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