Ombudsman volunteers needed for long-term care

Residents’ Rights Month to focus on finding essential volunteers


September 30, 2022

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota’s Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care had 33 Certified Ombudsman Volunteers statewide. Fast forward to the fall of 2022, and there are only 14 volunteer Ombudsmen serving nearly 2,500 nursing care and assisted living facilities across Minnesota.

Addressing the Ombudsman volunteer shortage is one focus of Residents’ Rights Month during October. A major part of a Certified Ombudsman Volunteer’s role is educating residents, families and long-term care staff on residents’ rights. There are currently 14 regions in the state without even one Certified Ombudsman Volunteer.

“Just as nursing homes are struggling to recruit and retain staff, we face the same challenge with volunteers,” said Cheryl Hennen, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman for Minnesota. “Volunteers are a critical part of our team, advocating for people living in long-term care facilities to enhance their quality of life and services.”

The volunteers are assigned to paid regional Ombudsmen staff to ensure the health, safety and rights of long-term care consumers.

Ombudsman volunteers are needed all over Minnesota. Counties with the biggest volunteer needs are:

• Blue Earth

• Brown

• Carlton

• Carver

• Chippewa

• Freeborn

• Hennepin

• Itasca

• Jackson

• Kandiyohi

• Koochiching

• Lac qui Parle

• Mower

• Nobles

• Ramsey

• Redwood

• Rice

• Rock

• St. Louis

• Washington

• Wright

• Yellow Medicine

If you are interested in becoming a Certified Ombudsman Volunteer, visit for more information.

Residents' Rights Month in Minnesota connects with the national recognition effort. This year’s theme is “Inspiring Unity within Our Community,” which joins the ideas of community within a facility and encourages residents to be connected to their local communities.

Details on the rights of long-term care residents are available at

To contact the Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care with any residents’ rights concerns, visit You may also find more information on the Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care at The Ombudsman’s office provides free confidential advocacy services.


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