Nursing homes have made headline news during the pandemic. COVID-19 has brought to the forefront issues of resident isolation and staff shortages effecting this vulnerable population.
“While a lot of people have not heard of The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, an ombudsman helps nursing home residents and families advocate for excellence in care,” said Bob Vines, managing ombudsman for the Southwest Ohio region.
Established under federal law, long-term care ombudsmen help educate residents on their rights, empower them to speak up for excellence in their care, and advocate on their behalf to help solve problems.
In addition to retaining your civil rights when you move into a long-term care setting, you have additional rights, such as the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and the right to participate in your care plan and decisions about your life.
Up to 60% of nursing home residents do not have visitors on a regular basis. Some residents feel uncomfortable reporting a problem at the facility where they live.
A long-term care ombudsman volunteer helps address this by building relationships with nursing home residents, listening to their concerns and helping the residents connect with the right resources so they can receive quality care and have their rights protected.
After completing training, volunteers visit a nursing home for four hours a month on their own schedule and are asked to commit to a minimum one year of service.
Interested in getting involved?
For the Cincinnati region, including Warren, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Butler counties, contact Pro Seniors to learn more about being a volunteer long-term care ombudsman by calling (513) 458-5520 or going online at www.proseniors.org/long-term-care-ombudsman/volunteer/ .
About Pro Seniors
Pro Seniors, a United Way agency, helps older Ohioans resolve their legal and long-term care problems through three programs: legal services, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, and Ohio SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol). Pro Seniors operates a free Legal Helpline for any Ohioan who is 60 or older. Using a team of volunteers, Ohio SMP helps seniors prevent, detect and report Medicare fraud and identity theft.
Please invite Pro Seniors to present to your senior center, club, workplace or organization. For more information, visit www.proseniors.org .