Volunteers are wanted to visit nursing homes and similar facilities in the state to help resolve concerns among residents about quality of care. Deanna Clingan-Fischer is the state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman. “We hope to recruit individuals and train them to go into nursing facilities and be the eyes and ears for individual residents, so that we can insure quality care and make sure residents have someone they can turn to if they are in need of some assistance,” Clingan-Fischer says.
The new Volunteer Ombudsman Program is open to anyone at least 18 years of age. Previous experience in health care is not required. “Certainly, individuals who have a background in health care…would have an instant advantage, so to speak, in knowing some of the lingo and the health care needs of our vulnerable people,” Clingan-Fisher says.
Plans call for placing one or two volunteers in every nursing facility, residential care facility, and elder group home in Iowa. Potential volunteers must go through a one-day, eight-hour long training session. Volunteers are also be required to attend 16 hours of continuing education and commit to visiting a care facility at least three hours per month for one year.
More information and volunteer applications are available at: www.iowaaging.gov/vop.