Ombudsman Volunteer Program
As a retired nursing home administrator...
As a retired nursing home administrator, Beverly Cohen-Champagne felt particularly called to be an Ombudsman volunteer. For three decades, it was Beverly’s job to ensure that residents received quality care and that facilities were in compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. Every day, she acted as the primary liaison for residents, families, nurses, healthcare staff, and the general public, maintaining everyone’s health and safety.
“After I retired, my cousin was in a local facility, and I became his advocate. I realized that without my advocacy, my family wouldn’t have known what to ask for. I knew then I should be an ombudsman because people need an advocate when their families don’t know what to ask for.”
Seeing the critical importance of Ombudsman volunteers, Beverly believes it positively affects all involved, not just the residents. She says it’s a win for the residents and their loved ones when they have a better understanding of their rights and what is happening.
“I think that it’s really important because residents and families are left to imagine life in a nursing home – when they feel like they have given up so much and they really don’t know what their rights are, what they have to ask for, the type of care they have a right to. Unless someone educates them when they come in, they feel so vulnerable that a lot of families and residents are just angry.”
Today, Beverly is helping to care for her older brother, Don, who is currently a resident at a nursing home. Growing up in Albany, NY as only siblings, Don and Beverly are very close and have always been there for one another. For a majority of his teaching career, Don was a math professor at SUNY Cobleskill, so maintaining & having close relationships is important to Don, having someone to talk to, whether it’s staff, an advocate, a friend, or family.
About the Ombudsman Volunteer Program
Ombudsman Volunteers spend about 2-4 hours a week visiting nursing homes and adult care facilities, meeting with residents, providing education on residents’ rights, advocating to improve their quality of care, and empowering them to make their voices heard.
Across New York State, Ombudsman Volunteers are crucial in ensuring that residents’ rights are respected.
Ombudsman Volunteers with the regional Long Term Care Ombudsman Program in the Capital Region and beyond receive comprehensive training on how to become an advocate.
Ombudsman Volunteers are needed in your community. To learn more about volunteering, please contact us at (518) 372-5667 or visit https://aging.ny.gov/ombudsman