Volunteers needed to advocate for residents in local long-term care facilities

Written by Theresa Rose on March 3, 2015

(Des Moines, IA) – The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman is seeking volunteers for its new Volunteer Ombudsman Program (VOP). The VOP wishes to place 1-2 volunteers in every nursing facility, residential care facility, and elder group home in Iowa.
Volunteer Ombudsmen are trained, certified volunteers that visit one local long-term care facility to advocate for residents’ rights. This includes visiting with residents about their quality of care and quality of life in the facility and seeking to resolve their concerns. This unique and rewarding opportunity requires a minimum commitment of three hours per month for one year.
Skills necessary include a friendly disposition, active listening, collaborative problem solving, and a strong appreciation for older Iowans and Iowans with disabilities. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. Previous experience in health care is not required. Certain conflicts of interest may prevent some people from serving, including current employees of long-term care facilities and their family members.
The benefits of becoming a Volunteer Ombudsman include:
 Training, resources, and continuing support from the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s Office;
 Rewarding relationships with long-term care residents;
 A flexible schedule—volunteers are able to conduct their service as it suits their lifestyle; and,
 The opportunity to learn more about navigating the system of long-term care.
New volunteer training is scheduled for March 12th in Mt. Pleasant. Interested persons must submit a volunteer application prior to attending training.
To learn more about the Volunteer Ombudsman Program, and to request an application, contact Meredith Funke, Volunteer Ombudsman Program Coordinator at 866-236-1430, or visit the VOP website at www.iowaaging.gov/vop.
The mission of the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman is to protect the health, safety, welfare, and rights of individuals residing in long-term care by investigating complaints, seeking resolution to problems, and providing advocacy with the goal of enhancing quality of life and care.