How to volunteer as a nursing home resident advocate

Published: Sunday, April 21, 2019 @ 6:30 AM

The Dayton Daily News investigates what representatives look for when inspecting a nursing home, and what steps are taken when issues arise.

If you want to get involved and support local nursing home residents, you can volunteer with your local ombudsman’s office to advocate for area nursing home residents.

Some nursing home residents rarely get visitors and others might feel uncomfortable reporting a problem at the facility where they are living.

MAIN STORY: Staffing is a challenge for area nursing homes. Here’s what we know.

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A long-term care 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.

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program was established under federal law and advocates for residents rights and person-centered care for residents in nursing homes and in other types of long-term care such as assisted living and homes for people with developmental disabilities.

Chip Wilkins, long-term care ombudsman for the Dayton region, said while it’s the paid ombudsman staff that advocate for residents who have a complaint, the volunteers play a crucial role by building relationships with residents and keeping an eye out for problems.

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Volunteers visit a nursing home for four hours a month on their own schedule and are asked to commit to a year.

After training, volunteers are certified through a test with the Ohio Department of Aging.

Interested in getting involved? Contact the Volunteer Coordinator for the Dayton-area Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at (937) 223-4613 or 1-800-395-8267. Or you can fill out a form online at www.dayton-ombudsman.org/volunteer.html. The Dayton office serves nursing home residents in Montgomery, Preble, Greene, Clark, Miami, Darke, Logan, Shelby, and Champaign Counties.

For the Cincinnati region, including Warren and Butler counties, contact Pro Seniors to learn more about being a volunteer long-term care ombudsman by calling (513) 345-4160 or going online at www.proseniors.org/long-term-care-ombudsman/volunteer/.