PROJECT MISSION: To improve quality of life and care for residents of long-term care facilities.
PROJECT PURPOSE: To speak with residents and their family members at the facilities and to speak with concerned citizens in the community in order to empower residents so they are treated with respect, receive quality medical and personal care, are free to exercise self-determination and also to educate residents, facility staff, and the public about long-term care residents’ rights and to advocate for individual and systemic improvements.
POSITION: VOLUNTEER OMBUDSMAN
Be at least 18 years of age; have the ability to travel to required training sessions, volunteer meetings, and long-term care facilities; have a sincere interest in promoting the well-being and protecting the rights of people in long-term care; have the ability to discover facts alleged in complaints and objectively determine whether the complaints are verified or not verified; be able to work cooperatively with residents and staff to resolve complaints; successfully complete required training; dedicate at least 4 hours per month at assigned facility for at least two years; attend required meetings and trainings. No nursing home experience is necessary.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESTRICTIONS:
A volunteer ombudsman or a member of their immediate family may not:
• be presently employed by a long-term care facility, or
• have any current fiduciary interest, either direct, indirect or implied, in any long-term care facility.
A volunteer ombudsman may not:
• be assigned to work in a facility in which a member of their immediate family resides,
• conduct or engage in political or religious activities in the assigned facility;
• use the position for any financial benefit, direct, indirect, or implied,
• provide any hands on care to any resident, or
• bring in or distribute in any facility any form of alcohol, tobacco, or medications including such items as over-the-counter medications.
• Visit assigned long-term care facilities for at least four hours per month. More frequent visits are desirable and important.
• Work closely with the staff of the Ombudsman Project to develop a strong sense of teamwork and mutual support.
• Establish cooperative and trusting relationships with residents and facility staff.
• Inform residents, family members, staff and other interested parties about residents’ rights, community services available to them, laws and regulations that govern long-term care facilities, and good health and safety practices.
• Seek out hard-to-reach residents.
• Advocate for residents that cannot speak for themselves by observation.
• Help residents and their families to understand the rules under which facilities operate.
• Assist and encourage residents to voice their complaints within the facility and help them to advocate for themselves.
• When a resident raises a complaint, work to investigate and resolve concerns to the satisfaction of the resident.
• Establish a relationship with Resident Council members and attend Council meetings when invited.
• Attend a minimum of one Resident Council meeting per year in each facility assigned.
• Assist residents and their families and friends to be actively involved in their care and treatment through resident and family councils.
• Establish a relationship with Family Council members and attend Council meetings when invited.
• Immediately report all actual or suspected incidents of abuse and neglect to the volunteer coordinator or to the regional ombudsman if the volunteer coordinator is not available.
• Maintain residents’ confidentiality and privacy at all times.
• Treat all residents, family members and staff with respect.
• Maintain current written records of contact with residents and visits to facilities.
• Complete the Monthly Report Form, and submit to the volunteer coordinator by the fifth of each month.
• Attend meetings/training sessions as scheduled by the volunteer coordinator.
• Inform the volunteer coordinator if unable to visit the facility for a period of two weeks or more.
TRAINING AND SUPERVISION:
• Two six-hour Level I training sessions and four-hour mentorship prior to designation as a volunteer ombudsman.
• Attend meetings/training programs for continuing education requirement of six hours each year.
• Ongoing supervision by the Ombudsman staff.
• Complete Level II training when required.
Arlington Heights, IL