Become a Volunteer LTC Ombudsman

People who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities may have little or no contact with the outside world. Many feel they lack control over their lives. A certified volunteer ombudsman who visits regularly can be the highlight of a resident's day and ensure residents get good care.

If you have a passion for helping others, a caring spirit and a willingness to learn, we need you! Become an ombudsman and help improve the quality of life and care for residents in a facility near you. We provide training, tools and ongoing support from your local ombudsman program.

What You Need to Know

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Volunteers regularly visit residents at an assigned nursing home or assisted living facility. They listen to residents' concerns and, with resident consent, investigate, problem-solve and help resolve concerns. Ombudsmen support residents' rights, privacy and confidentiality.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, have available transportation, and possess genuine care and concern for older adults. All volunteers must be able to pass a criminal history check and screening for conflicts of interest.

No experience is required. Training, ongoing supervision and support are provided by the local ombudsman program. The most important requirements are compassion, respect for older people and common sense. A positive attitude, the ability to communicate effectively, and available time are also important.

Volunteers participate in a free, 36-hour certification training course. Training includes classroom, self-study and in-facility training. Each volunteer serves a 3-month internship. The managing local ombudsman recommends volunteers for certification, and the State Long-term Care Ombudsman makes the final decision.

Ongoing education is provided. Twelve hours of continuing education is required annually (one hour per month of certification).

After training, volunteer hours are flexible. Volunteer hours vary but on average, most volunteers work 1 or 2 hours per week.

Talking with residents, getting to share a laugh with them. That's priceless.
— Matt, ombudsman

Volunteers benefit by making a difference in the lives of residents. They also will improve and develop their interpersonal and problem-solving skills while building trusting relationships.

Volunteer ombudsmen develop skills in:

  • Communication
  • Listening
  • Relationship building
  • Problem solving

Volunteer facility assignments use 2 main factors: where we have a need for volunteers and the volunteers' preference. If you prefer to have an assignment close to your home or work, we will make every effort as long as there is a facility available.

More than 500 volunteers serve Texas residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

To volunteer, contact Pat Borgfeldt at 512-438-2545 or email her at pat.borgfeldt@hhsc.state.tx.us. You also can contact your local ombudsman program.

Updated: September 26, 2017


The Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman is independent of the Texas Health and Human Services system. This ensures the state ombudsman and all program representatives advocate for resident interests. Ombudsmen work to solve individual problems and to change policy and law to protect residents.