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Ombudsman Volunteers

What is an Ombudsman?

Long-Term care (LTC) ombudsmen are advocates for resident rights. They help protect the quality of life and quality of care of anybody who lives in a nursing home or an assisted living facility.

Ombudsmen can be volunteers or paid employees of agencies that are independent of any long-Term care facility. Services are free, confidential and available statewide.

What does an Ombudsman Do?

Some of the ways LTC ombudsmen help nursing home and assisted living residents include:

  • Listening to residents and family members when they have concerns or issues.
  • Telling residents about their rights.
  • Protecting resident health, safety, welfare and rights.
  • Helping families learn about nursing homes and how to pay for them.
  • Ombudsmen work to solve problems and make sure state regulations and laws protect residents.

Become a Certified Volunteer Ombudsman

People who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities may have little or no contact with the outside world. Many feel they lack control over their lives. A certified volunteer ombudsman who visits regularly can be the highlight of a resident's day and ensure residents get good care.

If you have a passion for helping others, a caring spirit and a willingness to learn, we need you! Become an ombudsman and help improve the quality of life and care for residents in a facility near you. We provide training, tools and ongoing support from your local ombudsman program.

What does a volunteer ombudsman do?

Volunteers regularly visit residents at an assigned nursing home or assisted living facility. They listen to residents' concerns and, with resident consent, investigate, problem-solve and help resolve concerns. Ombudsmen support residents' rights, privacy and confidentiality.

Who can volunteer?

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, have available transportation, and possess genuine care and concern for older adults. All volunteers must be able to pass a criminal history check and screening for conflicts of interest.

What experience do I need to become an ombudsman?

No experience is required. Training, ongoing supervision and support are provided by the local ombudsman program. The most important requirements are compassion, respect for older people and common sense. A positive attitude, the ability to communicate effectively, and available time are also important.

Is training provided?

Volunteers participate in a free, 36-hour certification training course. Training includes classroom, self-study and in-facility training. Each volunteer serves a 3-month internship. The managing local ombudsman recommends volunteers for certification, and the State Long-term Care Ombudsman makes the final decision.

Ongoing education is provided. Twelve hours of continuing education is required annually (one hour per month of certification).

What is the time commitment?

After training, volunteer hours are flexible. Volunteer hours vary but on average, most volunteers work 1 or 2 hours per week.

What are the benefits of volunteering?

Volunteers benefit by making a difference in the lives of residents. They also will improve and develop their interpersonal and problem-solving skills while building trusting relationships.

Volunteer ombudsmen develop skills in:

  • Communication
  • Listening
  • Relationship building
  • Problem solving

I am interested. Now what?

To volunteer, please call us at 713-500-9931 or email us at ombudsman@uth.tmc.edu.