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From Jeff Thompson's Enjoy Mediation Blog
Perhaps it’s her big smile, the friendly eyes behind her wire-rimmed glasses or the way she doesn’t let a simple “I’m fine” pass without a follow-up question.
Judith Sullivan, 66, is a volunteer with the Coulee Region Volunteer Ombudsman Program for the Wisconsin Board on Aging and Long Term Care. Once a week she knocks on the doors of resident rooms at Bethany St. Joseph Care Center in La Crosse. She asks about the food, the staff and their overall well-being. She typically hears no complaint. But, when residents have a problem, she isn’t afraid to tell the administration.
“My role here is (to be) the eyes of the public and the voice of the residents,” she said.
....The Volunteer Ombudsman Program was started in 1994 to reduce the burden on regional ombudsmen — 14 paid employees who monitor 400 nursing homes in the state. In 2008, the program expanded to 20 new counties, including those in the Coulee Region, said Karen Price, coordinator of the program. Eight volunteer ombudsmen are now serving in La Crosse County, and Price is searching for more. The main qualifications? Be open-minded and care about others, Price said.
Jeff Thompson is a certified international mediator. He is also a law enforcement detective in New York. His law enforcement role include a being a communication and conflict specialist, interfaith dialogue, developing and implementing community engagement programs, and designing training workshops.
Jeff is currently a PhD candidate researching nonverbal communication and mediation at Griffith University Law School. He also received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Creighton University School of Law. Jeff has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally and has been published and featured with numerous international media organizations. He currently writes also at PsychologyToday.com.
(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions as a mediator and not that of any organization.)
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