JOPLIN, Mo. — Seniors are among the most vulnerable population to abuse, especially when they live in long term care facilities. But you might be able to prevent that from happening.

A program that visits local long-term care facilities and makes sure residents are getting what they need, is in desperate need of volunteers.

“To go to the nursing home and act as that buffer between management and the patient, um they field complaints, they make sure people are being treated well and fairly, and uh it requires volunteers and since COVID, we’ve had a decided lack of volunteers to do this,” said Jennifer Shotwell, C.E.O. for Region X Area Agency on Aging.

It’s called The Ombudsman Program and volunteers check-in on 36 long-term care facilities in Barton, Jasper, Newton and McDonald counties.

“But we still have loved ones in those long term care facilities and we would really love for you to volunteer to take that training, you can pick a facility that you want to be exclusive to for those visits or we can direct you to any one of the 36 long term care facilities in our area,” said Shotwell.

“[A]nd there is some training required that’s that’s also seems a little daunting for people but once you get that under your belt, these folks desperately need it, it’s one thing to have a family member regularly visit these facilities, some of those folks don’t have anybody, we need to be their voice should they need it.”

For more information on program, and the training involved for volunteers, you can visit this MODHSS webpage.
What is an Ombudsman?