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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
Certified Volunteer Ombudsmen
News Release
Monday, April 27, 2009

Volunteers are urgently needed in your community to advocate for nursing home residents.

Called “ombudsmen”, the volunteers advocate for the quality of life and quality of care for nursing home residents by observing nursing home operations and responding to the needs of the residents.
   
Prospective volunteers are given special training before beginning their duties and should plan to spend at least two hours each week at their assigned nursing home. They will serve on an unpaid voluntary basis under the auspices of the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) of the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), the area’s association of nearly 140 local governments.

Certified Volunteer Ombudsmen are given certified training provided by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and the H-GAC Area Agency on Aging before beginning their duties.  Each volunteer is required to complete a 3-month internship in their assigned facility and 12 hours of continuing education to maintain their certification each year. 

There are 64 nursing homes in the 12 counties served by the H-GAC Area Agency on Aging and without more volunteers adequate ombudsman service cannot be maintained.

Volunteer ombudsmen advise nursing home residents of their rights, help look into problems which arise, and assist residents, their families and nursing home staff to mediate and resolve disputes.

Compassion, patience and dependability are important in fulfilling the role of a Certified Volunteer Ombudsman. If you are interested in becoming a Certified Volunteer Ombudsman, please call the Regional Ombudsman, Rebecca Morgan, toll-free at 1-800-437-7396, or contact by mail at P.O. Box 22777, Houston, Texas 77227-2777, or email at
rebecca.morgan@h-gac.com.



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