An ombudsman is a person who acts as a mediator between two parties, typically to resolve a dispute. The term is Swedish in origin and means “speaking on behalf of another.” In the United States, ombudsmen are appointed by government agencies or businesses to investigate complaints and attempt to resolve them.
According to the Missouri Ombudsman website, the role of an ombudsman is to be a facilitator, educator, broker, intermediary, collaborator, mediator, advocate, investigator, problem solver, and activist. The Missouri ombudsman volunteer in nursing homes and other residential facilities to help the residents with any issues that they are having. In Missouri, the qualifications are to have good listening and communication skills. The State wants you to be objective, sensitive, diplomatic, and reliable. You must complete a minimum of 20 hours of training. They want you to have transportation, and you must pass a background screening. You can volunteer by completing the ombudsman form or calling (800) 309-3282.
Many nursing home residents are scared to speak to the Ombudsman for fear of retaliation by the Staff. The Ombudsman is there to talk to you & for you. Don’t be afraid. After the Ombudsman has consulted with you, you will be given the option of whether or not they can advocate for you to the Staff. You can say YES or NO. It is your choice.
The Kansas Ombudsman program has its volunteers advocate for the residents. The Ombudsman can help by resolving issues that the residents have spoken to them about. They also inform residents of their rights and give information and support to the residents and their families. In Kansas, the people who can volunteer to be ombudsmen are those who can have a flexible schedule. They require you to be at least 18 years old, be a problem-solver, and have the ability to listen and learn. You must have transportation and pass a criminal background check. They provide all training through a Regional Ombudsman.
Below are links to more information about becoming an ombudsman in Missouri and Kansas.
How to become a MO ombudsman: https://mosers.org/news/missouri-ombudsman-program
KS Information Website: https://ombudsman.ks.gov/
KS Volunteer Website: https://ombudsman.ks.gov/volunteer/become-a-volunteer
KS Volunteer Application: https://ombudsman.ks.gov/volunteer/become-a-volunteer/volunteer-application