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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Long-term care program seeking volunteer advocates

New volunteers are needed as advocates in the Eastern Washington Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. The next training starts Oct. 12.

SNAP, which runs the program, says it needs to bolster the number of volunteers who advocate for seniors in assisted-living care facilities. The program usually has between 36 and 42 people, but is down to about 29 ombudsman because of those volunteers’ own health issues.

Having enough volunteers brings support for residents who might have issues while living in various long-term care facilities across a 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.

An ombudsman provides support for residents of nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and adult family homes in Spokane County and adjoining counties of Pend Oreille, Ferry, Stevens and Whitman. The volunteers also keep an eye out for inadequate nutrition, neglect and financial fraud.

The four-day ombudsman training runs Oct. 12-17 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 training is at the SNAP center located at 3102 W. Fort George Wright Drive. For those who can’t do the formal training session, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program has a new self-study certification training option to become certified. Participants don’t incur any cost for training or the background checks.

The program covers 27 nursing homes, 71 assisted living facilities and 195 adult family homes overall in the region. 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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