This book is about the subjective and objective outcomes of the work of volunteer advocates in nursing facilities. The majority of the volunteers were older, and they served older persons through their work in an ombudsman program. The extent of involvement of older persons in volunteering suggests its importance to them, and it increasingly sustains human service programs for both the young and old.
Despite an increased emphasis on independent and assisted living for older persons, the need for oversight of care, welfare, and rights of the aged in nursing facilities remains. Indeed, in recognition of the need to provide advocacy services for vulnerable elderly, the Older Americans Act was amended in 1978 to require states to establish nursing home ombudsman/advocacy programs.
Ombudsman programs are based on the assumption that community involvement through volunteers will have a watchdog effect on behalf of residents and increase accountability among staff and administrators of nursing homes. The present study reveals volunteers' experiences in ombudsman programs. It provides insight into volunteers' thoughts about their work and their capabilities prior to their involvement as well as independent measures of the work of volunteers.
About the Author:
PAT M. KEITH is Professor of Sociology, Iowa State University.