Ombudsman means citizen representative. They investigate reported complaints of older persons or persons with disabilities, report findings and help achieve resolutions. The long term care ombudsman advocates for resident's rights, quality of life and care in long term care facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living, boarding homes, residential care homes and veterans homes.
The long term care ombudsman has the power, based on federal and state law, to protect the rights of resident's. Ombudsmen can investigate complaints and work with long term care facilities to respond to any concerns on residents behalf.
Residents have rights and they are vital to all residents. Without rights in nursing homes, assisted living and care homes, there would be resident abuse, neglect and poor care. Under the bill of rights every person is entitled to certain rights, whether the person is living in a nursing home, assisted living or living at home.
The resident's bill of rights are just as powerful and important as the bill of rights; rights of residents protect the health, safety, and welfare for all residents receiving care in long term care facilities.
The long term care ombudsman was mandated to protect resident's rights, family rights, resident council rights and family council rights. Resident council rights protect the well being of residents living in long term care facilities. Family council rights protect the rights of family in long term care facilities.
The ombudsman also offers free nursing home and assisted living information that can assist families in how to choose a long term care facility. The more information you have about a long term care facility, the better chance you have to choose a facility that will protect resident's rights, family rights and provide residents quality care.
Ombudsman responsibilities outlined in the Older Americans Act included:
• Identify, investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents;
• Provide information to residents about long-term care services;
• Represent the interests of residents before governmental agencies and seek administrative, legal and other remedies to protect residents;
• Analyze, comment on and recommend changes in laws and regulations pertaining to the health, safety, welfare and rights of residents;
• Educate and inform consumers and the general public regarding issues and concerns related to long-term care and facilitate public comment on laws, regulations, policies and actions;
• Promote the development of citizen organizations to participate in the program;
• Provide technical support for the development of resident and family councils to protect the well-being and rights of residents;
• Advocate for changes to improve residents’ quality of life and care.
Volunteer Ombudsmen can help residents and their families and friends understand and exercise rights that are guaranteed by law, both at the federal and state level.
The volunteer ombudsman program is looking for volunteer ombudsmen nationwide to protect residents' rights in long term care facilities. If you would like to volunteer your time to help others, contact your state ombudsman. Our grandparents, mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts, and brothers and sisters need your help.