The Vermont Long Term Care Ombudsman Project (VOP) is housed within Vermont Legal Aid, Inc (a non-profit organization). The VOP advocates for people living in Vermont's nursing homes, residential care homes, and assisted living facilities. Ombudsmen promote and protect the rights, dignity, safety and quality of life of residents in long term care facilities through advocacy and outreach. Our services are free and confidential.
Once trained, certified and designated, Volunteer Ombudsmen are assigned to a nursing home, residential care home or assisted living residence in their local area. Volunteers not only visit their assigned homes, but also monitor how things are going, and most importantly respond to and help resolve complaints. We train volunteers to recognize and resolve problems.
We train new volunteers twice a year, usually in the spring and the fall. We have an extensive training program which includes self-study, a day of classroom training and 30 hours of field training. We ask for a commitment of 3-5 hours per week for at least one year once a volunteer is accepted into our program. A volunteer application must be completed, followed by an interview with our staff. We strive to assure our program is a good match for the volunteer, and that the volunteer will have a good experience. We also are required to do back ground checks. We reimburse volunteers for mileage traveled. Monthly inservices (continuing education) are mandatory and usually held the first Wednesday of each month.
Skills needed include compassion, respect for older persons, and common sense. A positive attitude, ability to communicate effectively and available time are equally important. Volunteers benefit through the joy of making a difference in the lives of residents, through the development of interpersonal skills, and through preparation for their own aging.
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