Throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency, visitation to NJ long-term care facilities has been severely restricted. The NJ Department of Health has issued guidance that allows LTC residents to have limited visitation in very specific circumstances. In addition, the NJ DOH has issued visitation guidance for the holiday season. General visitation and testing guidance was issued on October 20, 2020. (See page 22.) Holiday visitation guidance was issued on November 16, 2020. If If you have questions or concerns about visiting long-term care facilities, contact the NJ LTCO.
March 4, 2019
Training classes forming now!
The New Jersey Long Term Care Ombudsman (NJLTCO) has identified an urgent need for volunteer nursing home advocates in the northern part of the state.
“If you are looking for a challenging volunteer opportunity that offers flexible hours, I can’t think of a more important way to contribute to your community,” said Long-Term Care Ombudsman Laurie F. Brewer.
The NJLTCO provides advocacy to people living in long-term care facilities and investigates allegations of abuse and neglect in those facilities. NJLTCO volunteer advocates are at the front lines in combating elder abuse and exploitation, said Brewer.
Volunteers undergo 32 hours of training in communication, observation and troubleshooting skills and are required to shadow an experienced volunteer before being assigned to a facility. Once assigned to a facility, they are required to spend at least four hours a week visiting residents, listening to their concerns and troubleshooting problems with the facility administration.
In Passaic County, the NJ Long Term Care Ombudsman is currently recruiting for volunteers to be assigned to skilled nursing facilities in Paterson, Wayne, Clifton, Bloomingdale, Ringwood, and Totowa.
In Bergen County, the NJ Long Term Care Ombudsman is currently recruiting for volunteers to be assigned to skilled nursing facilities in Norwood, Emerson, Park Ridge, Rockleigh, New Milford, Wyckoff, Paramus, Fair Lawn, Hackensack, and Woodcliff Lake.
In Hudson County, the LTCO is currently recruiting for volunteers to be assigned to skilled nursing facilities in North Bergen, Kearny, Guttenberg, Union City, Jersey City, and Secaucus.
“Volunteer advocates are a lifeline for many residents of long-term care facilities in New Jersey. These committed volunteers provide friendship and companionship to elderly residents of nursing facilities. They also identify and mediate problems on the resident’s behalf,” said LTCO Statewide Volunteer Coordinator Deirdre Mraw.
When issues are identified in a nursing facility, the volunteer advocate can play an important role in resolving issues at the facility level. However, if an issue cannot be resolved satisfactorily, volunteer advocates can refer the matter for further action by the Ombudsman’s office, said Mraw.
“NJLTCO volunteer advocates are a reflection of the broader community. They come from all walks of life and every age group. Some volunteer advocates become interested in working with elderly residents as a result of their own personal experiences with aging family members. Others are retirees seeking a meaningful and rewarding way to use the skills they acquired during their working lives to benefit the larger community,” said Mraw.
Today, with the number of elderly people who are living in long term care facilities continuing to increase, the need for volunteers is even more critical, she said.
The NJLTCO is currently seeking applications for a spring 2019 Volunteer Advocate training session.
Anyone over the age of 21 who is interested in volunteering can email Mraw at Deirdre.Mraw@ltco.nj.gov or call her at 609-826-5053. Or check out the NJ Long Term Care Ombudsman website Watch our new LTCO Volunteer video!