Volunteers in Nursing Homes

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The Office of the State Longterm Care Ombudsman says putting a volunteer in every nursing home in the state could improve the quality of life for residents. There are 97,000 residents in care facilities in Michigan, but only 12 local ombudsmen to serve them.

Ombudsman Brenda Roberts would like to train volunteers for the 439 facilities in the state. Training costs about $1,000 per volunteer.

She says volunteers would visit facilities one a week, talk with residents and staff and identify problems. There's an extensive interview process to select volunteers.

Roberts says those interested should visit a nursing home and contact her office if they are interested.

The AARP supports the program and has been working on similar volunteer projects. But not all groups agree that this is the best way to provide support. Citizens for Better Care, a non-profit organization says trained professionals should provide advocacy, but volunteers are always helpful in other capacities.

Interested volunteers can contact the Ombudsman's office toll free at 1-866-485-9393.