- Written by Janis Merrell
- Published: 31 January 2020
Help change the world one resident at a time by becoming a certified Long-Term Care Ombudsman Volunteer! Ombudsman volunteers are caring, compassionate people who are trained and certified by the state of Massachusetts. Ombudsman volunteers support residents in long-term care facilities and help them to resolve concerns regarding quality of life and quality of care.
Karen Lavallee, 69, an Ashfield resident, has been a Long-Term Care Ombudsman since October 2018, after reading about the opportunity to volunteer in The Good Life. She visits Charlene Manor in Greenfield and Labelle’s Rest Home in Shelburne Falls. “I visit once a week at both places; that is the commitment. Sometimes more if there is an issue to deal with,” she says. The visits are around an hour and a half to two hours long, and Karen visits at different times and days of the week and varies what floors she starts on.
Ombudsman volunteers support residents in long-term care facilities and help them to resolve concerns regarding quality of life and quality of care.
When an issue is brought to Karen’s attention, she reports it to Trevor Boeding, LifePath’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Director. “Working with Trevor is fun. He’s really dedicated and knowledgeable about this program, and he’s always just an email or call away for any questions or concerns that may come up,” states Karen.
“My favorite part is just visiting people, getting to know about their lives, what brought them here. Helping to make sure they are getting their needs met, especially the residents that don’t have families to advocate for them. That’s the important part for me. You need a voice, doing home care and the experiences of hospitalizations and rehabs that my family members have had has taught me that . . . You will be rewarded tenfold when you help someone solve an issue,” says Karen.
*Volunteers are reimbursed for their mileage to and from the facility to which they are assigned.