Mee Lee Chin, Manager of the LTC (long-term care) Ombudsman Program, along with Assistant Program Manager Ed Arnold, and Ombudsman Assistant, Elaine Miller, recognized the devoted group of Ombudsman volunteers with a breakfast this month.
President Nixon established National Volunteer Week in 1974 as a way to recognize and celebrate the efforts of volunteers. This year Volunteer week is April 15 – 21st. The week has become a nationwide effort to urge people to get out and volunteer in their communities.
The Ombudsman Program at NSES advocates for residents in 14 cities and towns spanning Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk counties. The program is mandated by state and federal law and funded by the Older Americans Act through the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Ombudsman Program
1. What is the role of the Ombudsman?
The Ombudsman is an advocate for residents in nursing homes and rest homes, and is available to both short-term rehab patients as well as long-term care residents. The Ombudsman Program’s mandate is to represent the resident and assist at his or her direction. The North Shore Program covers Chelsea, Danvers, Everett, Malden, Marblehead, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Peabody, Reading, Revere, Salem, Stoneham, and Wakefield.
2. How does an Ombudsman act on behalf of a resident?
The Ombudsman educates residents, family members, and facility staff about residents’ rights, and good care practices. Any action by the Ombudsman to intervene on a resident’s behalf is contingent on permission from the resident and at the resident’s direction. If the resident wants the Ombudsman to act on the problem, the Ombudsman will investigate the complaint and continue to communicate with the resident throughout the investigation process. The Ombudsman serves as a link between residents, families, facility staff, and others to help resolve complaints and concerns.
3. How can a family member/friend utilize the Ombudsman Program?
If someone other than the resident contacts the Ombudsman Program, the Ombudsman will visit the resident to see if the resident has similar concerns and wants to pursue the complaint. If the resident cannot provide consent, the Ombudsman will work with the resident’s representative or follow program policies and procedures if the resident does not have a representative.
4. How can a family member best determine that a resident is being well cared for in a facility?
Participating in care plan conferences is a way to be heard, raise questions, and come to a clear agreement with the facility about how the resident is cared for. Participants discuss the resident’s care regarding medical and non-medical issues, including meals, activities, therapies, personal schedule, medical and nursing care, and emotional needs are agreed upon and addressed. Care plans must be reviewed regularly to make sure they work and revised as needed.
5. How does one become an Ombudsman volunteer?
The process begins with submitting an application online for review. You can access the application through our website at https://nselder.org/about-our-volunteers-2/
6. What training does an Ombudsman volunteer receive?
- Mandatory three-day classroom training with the State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program Office, followed by minimum 10 hours of onsite training with program staff to complete basic certification
- Monthly meetings with program staff and fellow Ombudsman volunteers on issues relevant to Ombudsman work
- Periodic support visits with program staff
- Ongoing support and guidance from program staff
- Recertification training every two years
To learn more about the rights of nursing home residents, check out The National Consumer Voice website at http://theconsumervoice.org/home
Volunteerism strengthens our communities and programs. NSES’ volunteers provide services in countless ways and we want to thank all of our volunteers for their dedication.
Celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Month by thanking a volunteer. You can also go to our website at https://nselder.org/donate-2/ to donate today. Your generous contributions enable us to continue meeting the needs of our older adults in our communities and support our many programs to this end.