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Ombudsman Volunteers

What is an Ombudsman?

Ombudsman means 'citizen representative'.

  • An ombudsman investigates reported complaints, reports findings, and helps to achieve equitable resolutions.
  • An ombudsman helps one person resolve a problem, addresses issues that affect several residents or works collectively to change a systemic problem.
  • Texas long-term care ombudsmen represent facility residents, and are located in all 28 Area Agencies on Aging

What Does an Ombudsman Do?

Nursing Home Ombudsmen serve residents of Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities in the following ways:

Handle complaints

An ombudsman supports residents and families to resolve any problems or differences with the facility staff by defining concerns, explaining rights and identifying possible courses of action.

An ombudsman can help resolve the problem in most cases; however, complaints involving serious abuse or neglect are referred to the appropriate agency.

In all situations, confidentiality is maintained and no information is released without permission of the resident or legal guardian.

Provide Information and Assistance

An ombudsman is a good source of information about selecting a long-term care facility, eligibility criteria, and other services for the elderly. If you would like a packet of information about nursing homes and/or assisted living facilities in Harris County, please feel free to contact us and we can mail a packet of information to you.

Advocate for System and Legislative Changes

State and regional ombudsman programs work cooperatively with other advocacy organizations to recommend legislation and regulatory changes that affect older Texans. Staff Ombudsmen routinely serve on boards and committees of other organizations and actively advocate for policies to promote quality of care

What Kind of Training and Support do Volunteers Receive?

All volunteers receive training prior to becoming certified. Trainings are held on Saturdays. Training I lasts 4 hours, and Training II which is held a month later lasts 8 hours. In addition to the trainings, continuing education sessions are held four times a year. These educational sessions provide volunteers with current information about issues in long-term care.

Staff ombudsmen are always available to answer any questions volunteers may have as well as provide them with support and guidance in their role as advocates for long-term care residents.

What Skills are Needed to Become an Ombudsman?

Becoming an ombudsman is easy. If you:

  • Are a good listener
  • Have good negotiating skills
  • Are good at problem solving
  • Are an advocate

You would make a good Ombudsman.

How to Become an Ombudsman

To find out more about becoming a volunteer ombudsman,

call 713.500.9931 or emailombudsman@uth.tmc.edu