David Alexander is a familiar visitor at Camelot Nursing & Rehab Center in Farmington. He has visited the residents there at least once a month for nearly six years as a Volunteer Ombudsman with the Southeast Missouri Agency on Aging. When he recently announced that he would be semi-retiring due to health problems, a party to thank him for his years of dedication was arranged by the staff of Camelot. A good many of the residents gathered in the dining room to thank him, and to share in the applause as Administrator Marilyn Miller presented Alexander with a gift of appreciation.
“David has been such an important part of our facility for so long he is almost like a member of our staff,” said Miller. “While we will miss his regular visits, we are pleased that he has agreed to continue to visit with our residents on an as-needed basis. They all know him and consider him a trusted friend, always ready to listen and help resolve their complaints and problems.”
“I fully intended to retired completely,” Alexander said, “but there is such a need for Ombudsman volunteers that the SEMO Agency asked me to continue with a much reduced schedule. I understand how important it is to residents to have an advocate, so agreed to be on-call for visits at Camelot.”
Ombudsmen visit with residents at assigned facilities to help resolve any problems, large or small, that the resident may have. Complaints are often about such things, as a meal, a roommate, or an employee.
“My job is to listen and assure them of complete confidentiality. Usually, the problem can be resolved quickly by the resident with a little direction from me. If it can’t be, I take the matter to the administrator for investigation and action.
“Marilyn Miller, the Camelot Administrator, has been excellent to work with, and the matters I bring to her attention are handled promptly, fairly, and satisfactorily. Most of the residents feel they are well cared for and loved, and I have found very few issues at Camelot while I have been their Ombudsman.
“It has been my pleasure to interact with the residents through the years. I enjoy my visits with them as much as they do. Being an Ombudsman brings a great sense of satisfaction knowing you stand as the residents’ advocate, as well as their friend. I encourage anyone to learn more about the program, and consider becoming a volunteer.”