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ABLE Ombudsman Program Seeks Additional Volunteers

The State of Ohio Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program serves every Ohio county. In the Toledo and Lima areas, the program covers 17 counties and operates in conjunction with ABLE. The program receives federal and state funding to provide free and confidential advocacy services to residents of nursing homes, assisted living homes, and group homes. Excellence in care and residents’ rights are critical areas of focus.

The program has 20 volunteers working alongside a small paid staff to serve 227 facilities that house 17,330 people. The Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program strives to visit all facilities four times per year. This is only possible with the help of dedicated volunteers, also known as Certified Ombudsman Associates.

Certified Ombudsman Associates visit local facilities and engage in conversation with the residents that live there. Lori Davis, ABLE Ombudsman Program Volunteer Coordinator, said, “Our volunteers are very special. They are choosing to give their time to long-term care consumers, which has an immense impact. The power of listening and being listened to is enormous. We find that both the long-term care residents and the volunteers find the experience rewarding.”

Program volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and are ages 18 and over. Some are actively employed, and others are retired from paid work. Other volunteers are working on completing college internship requirements. All the volunteers are generous in sharing their time.

Cheryl Z. has been a Certified Ombudsman Associate with the program for the past seven years. When asked about her volunteer experience, she said, “I enjoy advocating for residents who have no other voice to speak up for care issues they encounter, educating family members on the purpose of the Ombudsman Program and encouraging them to be advocates for their loved ones; and encouraging residents with the cognitive where-with-all to speak for themselves when needed. I also enjoy getting to know the lives of the residents I encounter and having some nice gab sessions with those I routinely visit."

The ABLE Ombudsman Program is actively recruiting new volunteers in the Toledo and Lima areas. To become a Certified Ombudsman Associate, an individual must complete 36 hours of training. Training includes class discussions and time spent learning in nursing homes. For more information, call 419-259-2891 or 1-800-542-1874.

About the author

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) is a non-profit regional law firm that provides high quality legal assistance in civil matters to help eligible low-income individuals and groups in western Ohio achieve self reliance, and equal justice and economic opportunity.