Friday, October 19, 2012

First Annual OOIE Training Conference Draws 100-plus Volunteers, Special Guests

More than 125 advocates and OOIE staff attended the 1st Annual Volunteer Ombudsman Training
Conference and Volunteer Recognition Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick on May 23, 2012. The event assembled advocates throughout New Jersey’s 21 counties to participate in an interactive, interesting, and informative training.

Volunteer Advocates participate in a role-playing activity.
James W. McCracken, Ombudsman, welcomed the participants and thanked them for their continued support to New Jersey’s vulnerable elderly in long-term care facilities.  Speakers also included Lori Smetanka, Director, and Sara Hunt, Consultant, from the National Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) in Washington, D.C., who presented on interactive role playing and skills for effective listening.  Paul Greenwood, Esq., from the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, tackled the seriousness of elder abuse in a way that entertained, educated and motivated the audience. Teri Cox, Volunteer Caregiver and Advocacy Consultant, presented on the rewards of volunteering. Special guests included: Lowell Arye, Deputy Commissioner, NJ Department of Human Services, who spoke about Medicare/Medicaid and  provided policy and legislative updates, and Victor Orija, the State of Delaware Long Term Care Ombudsman.

Paul Greenwood recounts some of the more notorious cases he has prosecuted during his career.
On the day before the volunteer training conference and luncheon, OOIE staff participated in an intensive all-day training with Hunt and Smetanka that focused on: the history of ombudsman programs nationally; issues relating to confidentiality and consent; how to advocate for people with dementia; identifying the misuse of anti-psychotic drugs; the re-authorization of the Older American’s Act; the impact of the Affordable Care Act on ombudsman programs; and emerging advocacy trends.  Later in the day,  Hunt and Smetanka reviewed case studies with the staff that focused on common types of problems including: guardianship; residents leaving LTC against medical advice; resident sexuality; transfers and discharges; and behavioral health issues.

In addition, Hilary Meyer, Director of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, presented on the challenges of protecting the rights of people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and/or Transgender living in long-term care communities.  The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is available to provide trainings on LGBT aging issues and best practices.  Information can be found at


  1. Looks like this was a great event! If you're interested in learning more about home care you should take a look at the Home Instead website. I'm a caregiver providing home care in Auburn NH, and we just recently posted a variety of wonderful resources on our website.

    Take care!

    - Sasha

  2. Great post. Sounds like this was a great training conference. Just curious, have you guys continued holding this conference on an annual basis?

    - Sasha

    Plymouth NH home care

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