The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program is dedicated to enhancing the lives of long term care residents through advocacy, education, and resolution of resident complaints, including those related to abuse, neglect and exploitation. Residents of nursing homes, board and care facilities, and assisted living facilities; their family members and friends; nursing home administrators and employees; people considering long-term care placement; and others interested in the welfare of residents may use Long-Term Care Ombudsman services.
A trained and designated volunteer or professional Long-Term Care Ombudsman works to resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents of long-term care facilities. Many complaints involve inadequate care, abuse, neglect, or exploitation (especially financial).
In addition to complaint resolution, Long-Term Care Ombudsmen work to prevent abuse/neglect/exploitation through their various activities including:
- Education to consumers and providers about resident rights, abuse prevention and good care practices
- Providing a regular visiting presence in facilities which allow residents to have in-person contact with the LTC Ombudsman
- Promotion and participation in state and local abuse prevention task forces
- Commenting on proposed policies, regulations and laws that support consumer protections and enhanced protections for older adults
- Promotion of the development of citizen organizations, family councils and resident councils
Long-term care ombudsmen efforts are summarized in the National Ombudsman Reporting System (NORS 2010 data) to include the number of facilities visited, the types of complaints handled and the kinds of complaints filed with ombudsmen. Data has been collected since 1996 and gives a good picture of the extent of ombudsman activities nationally and in every state.
Concerns brought to the Ombudsman may include:
- Violation of residents’ rights or dignity
- Financial exploitation
- Poor quality of care
- Any resident concern about the quality of care or quality of life
- Physical, verbal or mental abuse, deprivation of services necessary to maintain residents’ physical and mental health, or unreasonable confinement
- Improper transfer, discharge or eviction of a resident
- Inappropriate use of chemical or physical restraints
To locate an Ombudsman or to learn more, visit the National Long Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center.