NACo Acts of Caring Award

Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 711, FAX 703-324-2010

April 5, 2006

Fairfax Area Agency on Aging Program Receives NACo Acts of Caring Award

The Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Volunteer Ombudsman Program has been selected as a winner in the National Association of Counties’ 2006 Acts of Caring Awards program, which recognizes the top county volunteer programs in the country.

The ombudsman program, which was established in 1985 to advocate for people receiving long-term care services to ensure the highest quality of life and care, serves five jurisdictions. It is staffed within the Department of Family Services’ Fairfax Area Agency on Aging, and all five jurisdictions contribute to the cost of the program. The program’s policy board is chaired by Fairfax County.

“When most people think of volunteering, retired or not, they most often consider fun or relaxing roles to volunteer in,” said Rita Schumacher, director of the program. “One reason I believe our volunteers are extraordinary is that their ‘job’ has the potential for conflict and can often be heartbreaking because of the things they witness. I admire them for their strength and their courage in performing their work.”

The award will be presented at a breakfast ceremony on Thursday, May 4, at 8:30 a.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Volunteers in the Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Volunteer Ombudsman Program are assigned to a specific local nursing home or assisted-living facility and make weekly visits, meeting one-on-one with residents. Using the skills of listening, observing and mediating, the ombudsmen work with the residents, their families and the staff of the facility to ensure that the residents’ rights are being protected. They teach residents how to advocate on their own behalf and investigate and resolve issues with care providers when an outside voice is needed. The program also provides extensive education on long-term care for staff, families, policymakers and the public.

For more information on the award or the program, contact Nancy Cavicke, volunteer coordinator, at 703-324-5435, TTY 711.

Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. To request this information in an alternate format, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.

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