What is an Ombudsman?
Ombudsman is a Swedish term that means “citizen advocate.”
A long-term care Ombudsman is an advocate for resident’s rights and is responsible for investigating complaints raised by, or on behalf of, nursing home and adult care home residents.
Ombudsmen work with residents, family members, concerned citizens and facilities, as well as public and private agencies, to ensure quality of life and compliance with standards of care for residents in long-term care facilities.
What does a Long-Term Care Ombudsman do?
An Ombudsman . . .
Advocates for residents when their rights have been violated or receiving improper care.
Investigates complaints as they relate to residents’ rights, services and benefits.
Mediates disputes between long-term care residents and facilities or agencies.
Provides information to residents, family and staff about residents’ rights, care planning, placement / transfer / discharge, family and resident councils.
Educates the public on long-term care issues and elder abuse awareness.
Promotes involvement by the community in long-term care facilities.
What are Community Advisory Committees?
The Ombudsman works in conjunction with nursing home and adult care home Community Advisory Committees in each county to serve residents in long-term care facilities and help uphold the spirit of the nursing home and adult care home Residents’ Bill of Rights.
The Committees are made up of volunteers, appointed by the County Commissioners, who visit facilities, interact with residents, and advocate for quality care. Members must reside within the county in which they serve.
If you are interested in volunteering to serve on a Community Advisory Committee in your county, please contact the Ombudsman Program by calling 828.485.4213.
Who May Need an Ombudsman?
Residents, family, friends, and staff of long-term care facilities.
Anyone seeking information and education regarding long-term care or placement issues.
What to do before calling the Ombudsman:
Be prepared. Have your concerns written down to help you be more effective and ask the right questions.
Keep records. Remember to record dates, times and people you spoke with regarding your concerns.
Be pleasant. Getting angry or rude never helps to solve the problem.
Utilize the facility complaint or grievance process. Try to solve complaints through the facility first.
How to Contact your local Ombudsman:
Resource Directory for Older Adults
Community Advisory Committee Brochure
Long-Term Care Facilities List
in Nursing Care
Consumer Guide to Choosing A Nursing Home