Thanks to the availability of funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging, the NJ Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman is assisted in its advocacy by a cadre of citizen volunteers.
Each highly trained Volunteer Advocate visits an assigned long-term care facility for at least four hours per week. These dedicated volunteers look out for people living in nursing homes, many of whom have no one else to help them.
While the Volunteer Advocate Program currently has more than 250 volunteers, many more are needed to fill the gaps left through attrition. We need more volunteers to care for the frail elderly, keeping them independent, healthy and able to live their lives out with dignity.
The need is clearly there. If you are interested in having a direct impact on the lives of elderly citizens in nursing homes, please consider becoming a Volunteer Advocate. For more information, contact the Volunteer Advocate Program at 609-826-5053 or email at email@example.com.
As representatives of the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Volunteer Advocates are part of a resident-focused advocacy program trained to observe the quality of services provided by the nursing home staff.
When problems are identified in a nursing facility, the Volunteer Advocate can play a crucial role in resolving issues of quality of care and quality of life as close to the bedside as possible.
Problems such as staff responsiveness, food and nutrition issues, hygiene problems, lack of activities, missing personal belongings such as clothing, dentures, eye glasses, etc., and, of course, residents who are not being treated with courtesy, consideration and respect – all basic civil rights. Challenges and rewards of participating in the Volunteer Advocate Program are varied and many.
Complaints of abuse, neglect and exploitation are referred to the LTCO for investigation.
Volunteers must complete a 32 hour training program to become a certified Volunteer Advocate. The training curriculum was developed by UMDNJ-School of Medicine and Rutgers School of Social Work and is modeled after the National Ombudsman Resource Center curriculum. The training program and training manual were recently updated to reflect industry changes, trends, and new legislation. Intensive classroom instruction and additional on-site orientation is conducted by each Regional Volunteer Program Coordinator.
Training topics include:
Over the past year, our Volunteer Advocates have donated approximately 45,000+ hours in nursing homes, visiting elderly residents and advocating for their rights. Our Advocates had approximately 72,000+ one-to-one encounters with residents of nursing homes, listening to their concerns and resolving issues to the satisfaction of the resident and their families.
The success of the Volunteer Advocate Program is predicated on the dedication and devotion of our citizens who willingly give back to their communities, and their ability to effectively resolve issues on behalf of the population we serve.
The need is clearly there. If you are interested in having a direct impact on the lives of elderly citizens in nursing homes, please consider becoming a Volunteer Advocate.