If you’re looking for a great way to get involved in improving the quality of nursing home care, I suggest becoming part of the ombudsman program in your area.
Ombudsman provide a vital link between nursing home patients and facility staff. Unlike complaints made to a state’s department of health which tend to be serious in their nature, ombudsman are a conduit to resolving many commonly encountered problems that may be addressed relatively easily.
In addition to resolving grievances and answering questions, ombudsman can also help improve patient safety when they notice abusive care or dangerous living conditions at a facility.
In Chicago, The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) announced a new initiative to recruit volunteer ombudsman to fill the important position.
“It is estimated that nearly 60 percent of residents in Long Term Care facilities never receive a visitor,” said Mary Ellen Caron, Ph.D., commissioner of Chicago Department of Family and Supportive Services. “Becoming a Volunteer Ombudsman allows Chicagoans the opportunity to improve the quality of life for seniors in their community by providing support and friendship to individuals who have limited resources.”
Ombudsman can serve patients in the nursing homes within their community or in any area of the city they choose after they complete a training program and become certified by the Illinois Department on Aging. Coursework will include:
- An overview of the aging process and the people who live in nursing homes
- Federal and state regulations of Long Term Care facilities
- Residents’ rights
- An overview of the organizational structure of the long term setting
- Communication and interviewing techniques
- Principals for reporting poor care
If you are interesting in becoming active in this very worthwhile program, call (312) 744-4016 or visit www.cityofchicago.org/fss.
For laws related to Illinois nursing homes, look here.