An ombudsman is a trained and certified volunteer who advocates for people who live in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family-care homes. The vulnerable individuals in these facilities often have no one to speak for them or keep an eye on the level and quality of care they receive. Ombudsmen will be there to serve as the “voice” of a resident when no one else is willing or able.
Throughout Florida, ombudsmen are organized into “councils” based on location. There are 18 local councils throughout the state. Paid State of Florida employees manage and administratively support each of these offices.
“Ombudsman work,” as it is referred to in many of these questions, primarily involves investigating complaint(s) received from or on behalf of people who live in nursing homes, assisted living facilities or adult family-care homes; conducting annual assessments of long-term care facilities; attending local monthly council meetings; and building trusting relationships with residents of long-term care facilities.
Ombudsmen are first and foremost advocates. Ombudsmen are not in place to attempt a compromise between a long-term care facility and a family member, caregiver, guardian or resident. An ombudsman’s job is to be biased in favor of residents, and the ombudsman will do his or her best to resolve a complaint or case to the full satisfaction of the residents involved.
While volunteer ombudsmen come from a variety of backgrounds, the only special requirements are compassion and a willingness to help others. The Ombudsman Program provides the necessary training to becoming an ombudsman. Seasoned ombudsmen as well as District Ombudsman Managers are always available to answer questions and provide assistance.
After completing the necessary paperwork, potential ombudsmen attend three sessions of classroom training and three sessions of field training. Trainings are usually provided by the District Ombudsman Manager, State Trainer or a seasoned ombudsman volunteer.
As representatives of the State of Florida, ombudsmen receive reimbursement at the current rate of $0.445 for each mile they travel while doing ombudsman work. Ombudsmen also receive reimbursement for meals while doing ombudsman work. The full set of State of Florida policies for reimbursement will be outlined for you during the application process.
Only as far as you want. Most ombudsmen prefer to visit facilities close to home, and the Ombudsman Program is able to accommodate this. Sometimes you may be asked to travel a little further but the decision is ultimately your own.