Certified Volunteer Ombudsman
An advocate for residents of long-term care communities
Too often residents of long-term care communities do not have regular visitors and when problems arise, they do not feel confident to address those issues on their own. That’s where you can help. A certified volunteer ombudsman (CVO) is an advocate for residents of long-term care communities. A CVO regularly visits long-term care facilities and works free of charge for the resident to resolve problems that arise. A CVO will ensure that residents understand they can contact the ombudsman if they have a problem with which they need help. When a problem is presented and with the resident’s consent, the CVO can begin an investigation to help remedy the problem. The ombudsman will never investigate a problem if the resident does not want them to do so.
Listening to residents – making an impact
Residents of long-term care may feel that their voices don’t matter or aren’t heard. The CVO will stand by the resident to ensure their voices and their concerns are heard. Perhaps a resident is frustrated because they cannot eat certain foods that regularly appear on the facility’s menu and are reluctant to speak up because they don’t want to be labeled as a “difficult patient to care for”. The CVO can speak for the resident, or the ombudsman can help the resident find their own words to let the facility know they need alternate menu options for certain meals.
Investing time – improving quality of life
New CVO complete a 36-hour training course that covers a wide range of topics relevant to the work they will be doing (link to new training page). Once training is complete and they are certified, they will typically spend several hours per week volunteering for the LTC Ombudsman Program visiting residents, providing information, working to resolve resident concerns, and documenting their work.
Certified Volunteer Ombudsmen complete 18 hours of continuing education each year to keep their certification and skills current. District LTC Ombudsmen Program provide continuing education training and opportunities for continuing education. District LTC Ombudsman Program staff regularly meet with volunteers to provide support, coaching and important information to volunteers. Volunteers must attend required program meetings.