Red Cross offers ombudsmen training

The American Red Cross of the Mohawk Valley will conduct a free 36-hour training course for Long Term Care Ombudsmen, running July 9, 10, 11, 17, 18 and 19, at the Red Cross office, 1415 Genesee St., Utica.

Once finished participants will become a state-certified Long Term Care Ombudsman. Interested volunteers are urged to sign up early for interview by calling Call Jeff Parker at the Red Cross at 733-4666 extension 205

The training will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. There will be transportation provided off site for parts of the training.

An ombudsman is a trained volunteer who makes weekly visits to local nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. An ombudsman acts as an advocate for the residents of those facilities. Their job is to help resolve any complaints and to mediate any conflicts between residents, family and staff to develop a win-win solution.

They also educate the residents and their families regarding resident’s rights.

"The ombudsman fills a very critical role," said Jeff Parker, long term care ombudsman coordinator for Oneida/Herkimer County. "The residents of long term care facilities frequently are unable to speak for themselves and do not always have someone available to speak on their behalf. Sometimes it is a simple matter that needs to be resolved, other times matters are more intricate. It doesn’t matter if the problem is small or large; the ombudsman does everything they can to help the resident achieve a resolution that will improve their quality of life."