Upper Shore Aging, Inc., is accepting applications for volunteers to serve as Ombudsmen. The word ombudsman (om-budz-man) is from Sweden. In the United States, it has come to mean “advocate.” The Ombudsman Program is authorized by the Older Americans Act and Maryland law.
The overall goal of the Ombudsman Program is to assure residents receive quality care, and that they maintain their dignity, legal rights, and control of their lives.
Ombudsmen act as advocates for residents, regularly visiting assigned nursing homes and assisted living facilities and speak with residents about their experiences and satisfaction with care and services. Ombudsmen investigate complaints, assist in resolving resident concerns, and educate residents and facility staff about the Ombudsman Program and residents’ rights. Guidance and support are available from full-time staff.
It is estimated that 70 % of those living beyond age 65 will need long-term care services. Much of that need is and will be provided by nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Concerns addressed by Volunteer Ombudsmen include:
*Quality of Care
A one-year commitment of at least 8 hours a month is requested. Volunteers Ombudsman receive at least 20 hours of training to educate them about the long-term care system, residents’ rights, communicating with older adults, and complaint investigations. Continuing education is provided through-out the year.
No experience is required. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and physically and emotionally able to assume the duties of the position, must respect and care about the rights and welfare of older adults, and be able to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing. Background checks are required as well as signed confidentiality statements. Conflicts of interest are not permitted. A valid MD driver’s license is also required.
For information, call Patrick Carney, Upper Shore Aging Program Manager, at 410-778-1182.