If you are at ease in nursing homes, and are a good listener, this program is for you!

Ombudsman Volunteering

Residents of long-term care facilities need an advocate who is looking out for their rights and interests. The Ombudsman Program is in place to offer residents of long-term care facilities a way to have their complaints and concerns heard, helping them to feel empowered and advocating for them to live with dignity and respect. Trained and supervised volunteers visit a facility at least weekly and are available to hear concerns in confidence, seek to protect residents’ rights, and provide information and referrals.

OVERVIEW

The Springwell Volunteer Ombudsman Program is an advocacy program for residents in Nursing Homes and Rest Homes. It’s a federal program which is administered in each state. In Massachusetts there is a state Ombudsman who oversees the program, and then it’s run locally across the state at various agencies. At Springwell we cover all Nursing Homes and Rest Homes in 8 towns: Belmont, Brookline, Needham, Newton, Waltham, Watertown, Weston and Wellesley. Each volunteer is assigned a home that they visit weekly. As an Ombudsman, you meet with residents and hear any complaints or concerns they have, and with their permission, bring these complaints forward to staff. All work is documented and submitted in a timely way to the Program Manager. In addition to the weekly visits, there is a required monthly meeting at Springwell that volunteers attend for ongoing training, education and support.

WHY VOLUNTEER WITH SPRINGWELL

Springwell has more than 30 years of experience working with volunteers. One thing we know for sure is that kindness matters. Because of Springwell Volunteers: People are less lonely. People are less anxious. People can get to important medical appointments. People feel heard. People are able to enjoy a healthy meal in a friendly environment. People know someone cares.

Each volunteer is screened to determine their interests, trained and carefully matched with a senior in the community. Program managers are always available to answer volunteers’ questions and handle any concerns that may arise.

Schedule

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

  • Must be 18 years of age
  • Make a 1 year commitment
  • Be available once per week for 1-2 hours for visits
  • Be able to attend a 3 day training

I WANT TO VOLUNTEER

To become an Ombudsman, all prospective volunteers must be interviewed in person, have two favorable references, successfully pass a Criminal Offender Record Inquiry (CORI), complete a 3 day training required by the state, and ten hours of additional training.  When you are ready to sign up, click on the “Volunteer Now!” button to fill out a short registration form. Once you have completed the form, we will schedule a phone call to discuss next steps.

More Info

What will you gain from the role? 

  • The opportunity to make a genuine difference
  • A chance to use your listening skills
  • A sense of achievement
  • New relationships

What skills and experience are needed?

  • Compassion
  • Good communication skills
  • The ability to treat information confidentially
  • Patience and a good sense of humor!

What support will be provided?

  • Volunteer orientation and training in our Waltham Office
  • Specific Ombudsman training from state office
  • Monthly Volunteer meetings in our Waltham Office
  • Support and guidance from our staff

When will you be needed? 

This volunteer role involves a commitment to visit residents every week.  You can chose the day and time based on your schedule. You will sometimes be asked to visit with certain residents and/or attend a pre-planned meeting at your assigned facility.