Elderly residents in need of an advocate

Published 9:46 am Wednesday, July 27, 2016

By Sally Krall, LBSW

Special to The Leader

The nursing home residents of Orange County need you. They need you to become a Certified Volunteer Ombudsman (CVO). Orange County has five nursing homes with a capacity for 587 total residents. Should these facilities be operating at 80% capacity that is 470 residents. Studies show that approximately 80% of all nursing home residents do not have immediate family or friends to visit on a regular basis. If this statistic holds true in Orange County that is 281 elderly or disabled persons living in long-term care facilities without visitors. CVO’s can fill this void.

  1. What is a Certified Volunteer Ombudsman? An ombudsman is an advocate for the residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
  2. What does an ombudsman do? An ombudsman visits the residents of their assigned facility. They ensure the residents, their families, friends and staff know that residents of nursing homes have the same rights granted by the United States Constitution as persons living outside the facility. In fact, nursing home residents have two rights specific to them; the right to quality of life and quality of care. Should a resident have a complaint or concern, and desire the ombudsman’s help, the ombudsman can assist the resident with resolving the problem.
  3. How does one become an ombudsman? After completing an application and passing a background check, a potential volunteer will participate in 35 hours of training.
  4. Does the training cost anything? All training and training materials are provided free of charge.
  5. Where is the training? The training is held at the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission at 2210 Eastex Freeway, Beaumont, TX 77703.
  6. How much time do ombudsmen spend in their assigned facility? A CVO is asked to spend a minimum of 2 hours per week in their nursing home.
  7. Do ombudsman have a set schedule? Volunteers can work their volunteer time to fit with their personal schedules.
  8. Is going into nursing homes all the time depressing? In fact, most people become ombudsmen to make a difference in the lives of the residents, but they stay because the residents make a difference in their lives. Although ombudsmen are called upon to help residents resolve conflict, a great deal of an ombudsman’s time is spent visiting. Residents love to reminisce and can give the ombudsman more joy than the ombudsman brings.

As an advocate for nursing home residents you will hear the gratitude in their voices, see it in their smiles and feel it in their touch. To become an ombudsman and experience rewards beyond measure contact Sally Krall, LBSW, Staff Ombudsman at 409-924-3381 X 6279.