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Ombudsmen volunteers needed to advocate for long-term care residents


Mon, Sep 5th 2022 07:00 am

Enroll in next training, as assistance is needed in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie & Niagara counties

Certification training will be held this fall for people interested in advocating for residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties.

The New York State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, supported locally by People Inc., “connects caring and effective advocates with older adults and people with disabilities who live in nursing homes, assisted living and other licensed adult care homes,” a press release noted.

It added, “Volunteers, known as ombudsmen, visit residents to identify concerns. They investigate and resolve complaints to advocate for the rights of people living in long-term care facilities. Ombudsman volunteers assist with monitoring resident care and building conditions, while working with facility staff to correct problems, using a range of problem-resolution and advocacy skills.

Regional Director Susan Fenster said, “Ombudsmen volunteers are urgently needed to serve society’s most vulnerable population. Our volunteers can make a tremendous difference in someone’s life.”

Upon successful completion of a 36-hour training program, Ombudsman volunteers are certified by the New York State Office for the Aging, work closely with their staff supervisor, and are assigned to a facility in their area where they make weekly visits to meet with the facility residents. Schedules are flexible, with a minimum of two hours per week.

The upcoming training will be provided virtually via Zoom on weekday evenings beginning in October. In-facility mentoring is also part of the curriculum.

Volunteer opportunities are available for those who work in professional fields, such as paralegals, human service staff, social workers and business professionals. Volunteers include recent retirees, ranging from those who have worked within education systems, administration or engineering fields.

For more information on volunteering, call 716-817-9222.

People Inc., a multispecialty nonprofit health and human services agency, provides programs and services to more than 12,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families and older adults throughout Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. With nearly 4,000 employees, People Inc. is one of the region’s largest employers. To learn more, visit people-inc.org, or follow People Inc. on Facebook or Twitter @PeopleIncNews.

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