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Long-term care ombudsmen needed

County News
Friday, 05 August 2011 11:28

Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program has announced the need for more volunteers in Osceola County.

The volunteer-based organization advocates for the health, safety, rights and welfare of elders who live in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family-care homes.

When an elder is admitted to a long-term care facility, federal and state laws provide each resident with a special set of residents’ rights covering issues ranging from dignity and respect to measurable quality of life and care. Volunteer ombudsmen, who are trained by the program and approved by the State Ombudsman, each spend approximately 20 hours per month visiting local facilities and responding to residents’ individual complaints to ensure that their rights are respected.

Volunteers receive mileage and meal reimbursement, as well as support from state and local staff. Volunteers with the program are given a chance to meet and interact with others who share a passion for volunteering, personal fulfillment and growth.

“We are just one of the 17 district councils that make up the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Currently, we only have 20 volunteers in a district with over 16,000 long-term care resident beds, which works out to just one volunteer for every 824 residents,” East Central Ombudsman Manager Lashea Heidelberg said. “It takes a unique person to give so much time and energy to a program like this, to act as the residents’ voice to protect their rights. To continue our efforts to serve Florida’s most vulnerable population, we are seeking dedicated individuals to join our team.”

All program services, including individualized response to residents’ concerns, are free.

Individuals interested in volunteering or learning more about the program may call toll-free 1-888-831-0404 or visit online.

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