Long-Term Care Ombudsman Project of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago

  • IL

About Us

Advocate for nursing home residents!

Defend the civil rights of vulnerable seniors!

Volunteer sites available throughout Lake and suburban Cook Counties!

Volunteer Ombudsmen work with staff members of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Project to advocate on behalf of long-term care residents in suburban Cook and Lake Counties, and educate residents, families, and nursing home staff about residents' rights. Volunteers are vital to the mission of the Ombudsman Project, which serves 35,000 residents in over 250 long-term care facilites. Lake County was recently added to our service area, and we are eager to find great volunteers to serve in that area.

The Volunteer Ombudsman will visit their assigned long-term care facility on a weekly basis, and should develop awareness among the residents, families, and staff of the role of the Ombudsman Project, as well as of residents' rights. The volunteer will help resolve residents' problems on an individual basis, at the direction of the resident, and with the assistance of Ombudsman Project staff, if necessary. In addition, the volunteer will work with the resident council at the long-term care facility on an ongoing basis. The volunteer will refer appropriate complaints and concerns to the Volunteer Coordinator or Staff Ombudsman for their facility. The ideal Volunteer Ombudsman should possess strong critical thinking skills, the desire to provide quality advocacy for long-term care residents, an assertive and inquisitive character, a passion for justice, and an interest in the issues facing seniors and long-term care residents.

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Project will provide selected applicants with in-depth initial training and mentoring, as well as ongoing mandatory and optional training opportunities. You do not need prior knowledge of long-term care before becoming an ombudsman--although that does help!--but you should be ready to learn about long-term care and to reason through the situations you may encounter as a long-term care ombudsman.

Mandatory volunteer meetings take place throughout the year. Notice is given far in advance of any meetings to allow for scheduling. We do hold some meetings outside of working hours.

Program Requirements for Volunteers: 1. Complete all required Ombudsman training

2. Visit assigned long term care facilities on a regular basis

3. Inform the Volunteer Coordinator or the Regional Ombudsman; if unable to visit the facility for a period of time,

4. File timely, written reports (via email, fax, or mail) with the Volunteer Coordinator

5. Work closely with the Resident Council Presidents in assigned facilities and attend meetings with the permission of the Resident Council President

6. Inform residents of their rights

7. Assist residents in exercising their rights, getting answers to their questions, and resolving their complaints when possible

8. Report all abuse and neglect to the Regional Ombudsman immediately

9. Refer all appropriate complaints or concerns to either the assigned Community Ombudsman assigned to the facility or the Regional Ombudsman

10. Maintain strict confidentiality at all times

11. Treat all residents with respect and dignity at all times.

12. Be able to travel to meetings and nursing homes in the Chicago suburbs.

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Project is funded under the Older Americans Act by the Illinois Department on Aging and the Suburban Area Agency on Aging. For more information about the role of long-term care ombudsmen, visit the Illinois Department on Aging, at: http://www.state.il.us/aging/1abuselegal/ombuds.htm.

Please include your name and complete current street address when applying so more information can be sent to you without delay.