MAKING A DIFFERENCE
After 36 years of teaching, and 22 years of attending to her mother’s needs, Marian still wanted to give back. In 2010, she saw an opportunity to volunteer for the Ombudsman program and reached out to learn more.
Ombudsmen play a critical role in ensuring that residents of nursing homes and rest homes receive the high level of care they deserve. Springwell’s Ombudsman program provides a volunteer at each of the facilities located in the towns of Belmont, Brookline, Needham, Newton, Waltham, Watertown, Wellesley, and Weston. Springwell’s ombudsmen visit the residents of 26 centers regularly, listen to their experiences, identify problems or complaints, and, with a resident’s permission, work closely with facility staff to address or alleviate them. Feedback from ombudsmen is a key part of the ongoing facility monitoring by the state. It is an important job and that was one of the things that attracted Marian; she wanted to have an impact.
Marian was impressed with the training program. There were eighteen hours of classroom instruction, followed by a personal introduction to the staff of the long-term care facility where she would be working. Shadowing an experienced ombudsman helped her learn the ropes. Most of all, she appreciated the fact that everyone involved with the program was focused on the well-being of the residents.
“Kindness goes a long way,” says Marian. She still volunteers in the Watertown facility where she was originally placed five years ago, and she still never knows what she will face when she knocks on a door. Whether it is a problem with a lonely senior who wants to go home or an angry one who is unhappy with staff response times, Marian starts by listening. As an ombudsman, Marian keeps her focus on the comfort and rights of the residents, and keeps her communication and relationships with the staff open and honest. In doing so she makes a big difference – one problem at a time.
More information about the Ombudsman Program.