Volunteer Advocate Program

group The New Jersey Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) Volunteer Advocate Program provides citizens with an opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people living in nursing homes in New Jersey.

The primary function of the LTCO is to advocate for people living in long-term care facilities by investigating and resolving complaints made by them or by others on their behalf.

Volunteer Advocates are an essential part of the LTCO team. They are an extension of the Office of the Long-Term Ombudsman.

The Volunteer Advocate’s role is to solve problems for the resident and to ensure that all residents are being treated with dignity and respect.

Each Volunteer Advocate undergoes 32 hours of extensive and in-depth training and is required to pass a certification exam in order to participate in the program.

Then, after shadowing a more experienced volunteer for two weeks, the Volunteer Advocate is assigned to a nursing facility close to home. Although Volunteer Advocates can make their own hours, they are required to visit their assigned facility and speak to residents for at least four hours per week.

The types of problems that Volunteer Advocates typically encounter include: lack of staff responsiveness; failure to respond to call bells; inadequate or unappetizing food; hygiene problems; lack of activities; and missing or stolen personal belongings, such as clothing, dentures and eye glasses.

If a Volunteer Advocate identifies serious issues, such as abuse, neglect or exploitation, a full-time investigator/advocate from the LTCO may be assigned to investigate and resolve that concern.

While the Volunteer Advocate Program currently has about 250 volunteers, many more are needed. We need more volunteers to care and advocate for nursing home residents, keeping them independent, healthy and able to live their lives out with dignity.

If you are interested in having a direct impact on the lives of vulnerable New Jersey citizens living in nursing homes, please consider becoming a Volunteer Advocate. For more information, contact the Volunteer Advocate Program at 609-826-5053 or email at


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:

  • Overview of the Volunteer Advocate Program
  • Demographics of the Elderly Population
  • Normal & Abnormal Conditions of Aging
  • Medication and the Elderly
  • Communication Skills
  • The Long-Term Care Setting
  • Social, Financial, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Long-Term Care Facilities
  • Residents’ Rights
  • Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
  • The Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Complaint Process
  • Visiting a Long-Term Care Facility

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 State Volunteer Program Coordinator manages the Volunteer Advocate Program at the state level while four Regional Volunteer Program Coordinators manage the program at the regional/county level:

State Coordinator
Deirdre Mraw (609) 826-5053

Region I
Essex, Hudson, Morris & Union
  • Regional Coordinator
    Sue Rosenkranz
    (973) 289-7906
Region II
Bergen, Passaic, Sussex & Warren
  • Regional Coordinator
    Clara Krever
    (201) 274-3016
Region III
Middlesex, Mercer, Somerset, Hunterdon, Monmouth, and Northern Ocean
  • Regional Coordinator
    Beth Mane'
    (732) 995-7482
Region IV/V
Burlington, Cumberland, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Atlantic, Cape May, and Southern Ocean
  • Regional Coordinator
    Janet Khanlian
    (856) 630-2786

Last Updated: Thursday, 08/30/18