Volunteers needed for Red Cross Ombudsman Program

BUFFALO – The American Red Cross, Serving Erie and Niagara Counties is currently seeking volunteers for its Ombudsman Program. The Ombudsman Program provides advocacy services responsive to the complaints and problems of residents living in long term care facilities.

An ombudsman is a dedicated volunteer certified to receive, investigate, and solve complaints made by, or on behalf of, residents in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and certified housing in the community. Ombudsmen are assigned to a facility on a weekly basis to discuss problems, concerns, or to simply lend an ear when residents have something on their minds. They monitor the quality of care, help protect residents’ rights, provide information to the residents and their families to ensure proper treatment, and encourage residents to express their opinions. Residents often come to see their Ombudsman as simply a regular, friendly visitor, and volunteers will experience a wide range of satisfactions as they handle advocacy issues and increase community concern and interest for the institutionalized elderly.

Ombudsmen must be at least 21 years of age with an interest and capacity to fulfill the advocate’s role, as well as having strong verbal and written communication skills. Volunteers will receive a minimum of 36 hours of training, consisting of pre, post, and in-classroom instruction. Volunteers must complete all 4-days of in-classroom instruction.

Regularly scheduled training is provided. The next scheduled training program will be held over four days: March 13-14 and March 20-21. Prospective ombudsmen must successfully complete the full 36 hours of training.

Interested parties should contact 878-2385 or melanie.keem@redcross.org for more information.