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Ohio Department of Aging Press Release

April 15, 2010

Celebrate National Volunteer Week by Becoming an Advocate for Residents of Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

Volunteer Ombudsmen Are the Eyes and Ears of the State Program

COLUMBUS - April 18-24, 2010 is National Volunteer Week and the Ohio Department of Aging and the Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman are encouraging all Ohioans, but especially our older neighbors, to join the volunteer ombudsman program. Volunteer ombudsmen visit residents in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, help resolve problems and offer information to residents and family members about resident rights, quality of care and quality of life.

"National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to celebrate people in action," said Barbara E. Riley, director of the department. "The actions of volunteer ombudsmen make big differences in the lives of facility residents. They are the eyes and ears of the long-term care ombudsman program and very often provide a voice for the consumer when he or she needs it most."

"Volunteer ombudsmen derive satisfaction from helping residents and making their lives better," added Beverley Laubert, the State Long-term Care Ombudsman. "Their most important role is letting facility residents know they have an advocate if they need help with a problem. Working together with residents, their family and the staff of the facility, they help ensure excellent care and attention."

Ohio's ombudsman program includes the state ombudsman, regional ombudsmen and hundreds of volunteers and paid staff. Volunteers complete a nationally recognized certification program that equips them for their unique roles. Then, they go into service in facilities in their communities. Learn more about the ombudsman program and volunteer opportunities at www.aging.ohio.gov/services/ombudsman/.

About National Volunteer Week - National Volunteer Week, a signature event of the Points of Light Institute, celebrates ordinary people doing extraordinary things to improve communities across the nation. Visit www.pointsoflight.org.

About ODA

The Ohio Department of Aging provides leadership for the delivery of services and supports that improve and promote quality of life and personal choice for older Ohioans, adults with disabilities, their families and their caregivers. Working with 12 area agencies on aging and other community partners, the department offers home- and community-based Medicaid waiver programs such as PASSPORT, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.