Ombudsmen for long-term care facilities are being sought, and training is coming up next month.

A long-term care ombudsman is an advocate who visits with residents living in long-term care facilities and informs them of their rights. Ombudsman volunteers listen to questions and concerns residents may have regarding facility staff, family or other agencies associated with their care in the facility. They do informal problem-solving and help to empower and support residents and families in solving their own problems. The ombudsman program strives to improve the quality of life and raise the standard of care available for long-term care residents.

A crucial part of the ombudsman program is volunteers. The volunteers are committed to the program and the residents they serve, according to Ombudsman Supervisor Steve Harding. Some of the Ombudsman volunteers have been with the program for many years. The volunteers say the residents count on them coming to the facility and look forward to their weekly visits.

To become a volunteer in the Ombudsman Program, the applicant must have a concern about older people; be able to work with many types of personalities without being judgmental; be responsible; be willing to follow problems through to their resolution; be able to accept training and supervision; be able to spend at least two hours per week in the program; and be free from conflicts of interest.

Volunteers must also attend a two-day training provided by the local ombudsman office. The next training will be held in Muskogee at the EODD Area Agency on Aging on Aug. 20-21, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Anyone is welcome to attend the trainings without being certified as an ombudsman volunteer. Trainings can also be made available in a local area.

For more information or to make a reservation to attend the upcoming training, contact Harding, at Eastern Oklahoma Development District Area Agency on Aging, 918-913-9582 or 918-682-7891.