More than 100 volunteers are needed as advocates in the Eastern Washington Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, and training starts Sept. 15.
Volunteer ombudsmen provide support for residents of nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and adult family homes in Spokane County and the four adjoining counties of Pend Oreille, Ferry, Stevens and Whitman. Ombudsmen keep an eye out for problems such as inadequate nutrition, neglect and financial fraud.
The four-day ombudsman training runs Sept. 15-16 and Sept. 19-20 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Participants need to attend all four days and register as soon as possible, because background checks are done before the class begins.
The sessions are held at the SNAP center located at 3102 W. Fort George Wright Drive. Participants don’t incur any cost for training or the background checks, and there’s ongoing monthly training.
SNAP, which runs the program, reports a need to bolster the number of volunteers significantly – now at about 29 ombudsmen – to have enough people to spend time across 7,124 long-term care beds in the five-county area. A volunteer spends at least three to four hours a week in facilities, including visits to residents, providing information about community services and regulations, and mediating issues.
The program covers 27 nursing homes, 71 assisted living facilities and 195 adult family homes overall in the region. In 2015, volunteer ombudsmen provided 2,205 facility visits and 1,465 consultations while tallying 4,820 volunteer hours.
The Eastern Washington Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is funded by federal and state dollars in addition to grants and donations.
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