Long-term care ombudsmen are advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes and assisted living facilities. Ombudsmen provide information about how to find a facility and what to do to get quality care. They are trained to resolve problems. If you want, the ombudsman can assist you with complaints. However, unless you give the ombudsman permission to share your concerns, these matters are kept confidential. Under the federal Older Americans Act, every state is required to have an Ombudsman Program that addresses complaints and advocates for improvements in the long-term care system.
The ombudsman program is administered by the Administration on Aging (AoA). The network has 7,331 volunteers certified to handle complaints and 1,320 paid staff. Most state ombudsman programs are housed in their State Unit on Aging. Nationally, in 2016 the ombudsman program investigated over 199,493 complaints on behalf of 125,642 individuals and provided information on long-term care to another 378,582 people.
Visit the AoA website for more information.
Whether through individual contact with residents or systemic advocacy, ombudsmen make a difference in the lives of residents in long-term care facilities everyday.