Helping New Bedford Nursing Home Residents

Coastline in New Bedford is looking for a few good volunteers to join the National Nursing Home Ombudsman Program. It is a program that aims to address the concerns of residents of nursing and rest homes in Massachusetts, including Greater New Bedford.

The ombudsman program was part of a statewide effort that began in the mid-1970s to improve the lives of nursing home residents in Bay State. Qualifications include enjoying being around seniors and listening to their concerns, says Coastline manager Annabella Dougherty.

Dougherty and volunteer Amy DiPietro were guests this week on Town square Sunday.

Dougherty said work became more difficult last year due to the pandemic, when contact with nursing home residents was limited to meetings on Zoom. Now the program is looking to increase in-person visits again and hopes to involve more volunteers.

Dougherty said applicants will be interviewed and trained. She said the job can be tough, but for the right person it can be very rewarding.

Amy DiPietro enjoys being around the elderly. In addition to her work as a volunteer ombudsman, she is also a full-time director of the Dartmouth Council on Aging.

DiPiertro said she enjoys helping people and the nursing home staff have generally been cooperative and do their best to meet the needs of residents.

Annabella Dougherty and Amy DiPietro’s interview can be heard here:

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