Volunteers needed for residents in long-term care facilities

posted Feb 19, 2014, 3:46 PM by Mary Peck

Residents in long-term care facilities in Southwestern Oklahoma need volunteers to ensure they are experiencing the best care possible. If you have a concern about older people, can spend at least two hours each week volunteering and can commit to monthly meetings for continued education, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program may interest you. The program’s goal is to have volunteers in every facility to work with residents, staff and the surrounding community.

Ombudsman. Have you ever heard that strange word and wondered what it means? Ombudsmen are local volunteers committed to improving and enriching the lives of those individuals having to live in long-term care facilities. The long-term care ombudsman receives complaints from residents of long-term care facilities, their friends or relatives and attempts to resolve those complaints within the facility. The ombudsman has the authority to explore problems and recommend corrective action

To be an ombudsman, applicants must have a concern about older people, their needs and the ability to see each as an individual. They must be able to work with many types of people without being judgmental; be responsible; be willing to follow problems through to their resolution; be able to accept training and supervision; be able to spend at least two hours per week in the program; be free from any conflict of interest; and can attend monthly meetings.

The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Area Agency on Aging provides local supervision and support for volunteers in the ombudsman program with addition support provided by the State Ombudsman Program staff. Ombudsman program supervisors train volunteers in such areas as problem solving and communication, the processes of aging and long-term care facility regulations. 

The Aging Services Division of the Department of Human Services (DHS) through the local Area Agencies on Aging under the authority of the Older Americans Act and the Oklahoma Long-term Care Ombudsman Act administers the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

For more information, contact Samantha Walker, ombudsman supervisor, at the SWODA Area Agency on Aging at 800-627-4882 or 580-821-4068 or email swalker@swoda.org. Walker is also available for group presentations upon request.