Ombudsman program seeks local volunteers


COLUMBUS—The Ohio Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is welcoming volunteers who want to make a difference in the lives of others and help others make informed choices about where they live and the care they receive. Anyone interested in becoming part of a Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman can apply online at www.stepup.ohio.gov.

The program is made up of volunteers and staff who make regular visits to long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

“Visitors help reduce residents’ feelings of isolation,” said Beverley Laubert, the state long-term care ombudsman. “Our volunteers give residents a voice and honor their lives and experiences. They also help ensure facility staff do the same.”

Volunteer Ombudsman representatives observe conditions in facilities, talk to residents and family members about issues with care and services, and help them understand their rights as consumers. They can work with facility staff to resolve simple problems, and support Ombudsman staff as they investigate more complicated complaints. They receive extensive training to serve as advocates for long-term care consumers. Topics include problem-solving, interviewing, the rules and laws of long-term care, and how to work with providers to honor consumers’ choices.

Ohio’s SFY 2020-2021 operating budget included additional funds to expand the Ombudsman’s statewide volunteer corps and increase the number and frequency of visits to residents. These funds have supported regional Ombudsman volunteer coordinators to recruit, train, and retain volunteers.

For assistance with your or a loved one’s care, or to learn more about volunteering, contact the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman at 1-800-282-1206 or visit www.ombudsman.ohio.gov to find contact information for the Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program serving your community.