By Mitch Reitman, Director of Development
Volunteer field ombudsmen are the heart and soul of Ombudsman Services of San Mateo County. Our ability to advocate for residents in long-term care is dependent on our approximately 40 volunteer ombudsmen who make unannounced visits to their designated long-term care facilities on a weekly basis. These volunteers observe, listen to and interact with the residents. They observe general conditions of the facility, and record this information in a database. During their interactions with residents and families they guide them in the right direction to resolve issues. Our volunteers listen to and assist the resident with issues that may include, but are not limited to personal hygiene, daily cares, diet/meal issues, comfort, activities, staff relationships, personal empowerment, and facility conditions. Because of the type of work field ombudsmen perform, they are thoroughly screened and undergo a criminal background check and participate in intensive classroom and field training. They are also required to attend periodic in-services on topics of interest that will enhance skills necessary for the volunteer position. Being a Volunteer Ombudsman is a privilege and a very hands-on volunteer opportunity. Our ombudsmen really do make a difference in the lives of the people we serve and in their own lives.
While we are always in need of committed volunteers to be field ombudsmen, we know that not everyone has the time or inclination to perform the tasks required. Therefore, our newly constituted External Affairs Committee has created a new volunteer auxiliary called “Ombuddy” Program. “Ombuddy” volunteer opportunities enable community members to engage with our very worthwhile organization based on their interests and time availability. “Ombuddy” tasks can range from helping us plan our Gala fundraiser, providing information about our work at community events, speaking to congregations and organizations, and assisting in our partnership with Random Acts of Flowers Silicon Valley to create flower arrangements and deliver them to residents in nursing and residential care facilities.
We are proud to be able to offer so many options to volunteer with Ombudsman Services. For more information on being an ombudsman or an “Ombuddy”, please visit our website at http://ossmc.org/volunteer/. Have a relaxing and enjoyable summer.