Regional Ombudsman

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.

Region E Long Term Care Community Advisory Meeting Schedule

  • Alexander County – February 28, 2019 at 4:00 pm at the CVCC-Alexander Campus.

  • Burke County – March 7, 2019 at 2:00 pm at the Morganton-Burke County Senior Center.

  • Caldwell County – January 7, 2019 at 4:00 pm at the Caldwell County Library-Lenoir.

  • Catawba County – January 29, 2019 at 2:00 pm at Catawba County Department of Social Services.


Who May Need an Ombudsman?


  • Residents, family, friends, and staff of long-term care facilities.

  • Government agencies.

  • 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:

Christina Franklin

Regional Ombudsman

(828) 485-4213

Navigate Services

Helpful Resources:

Resource Directory for Older Adults



Community Advisory Committee Brochure

Family Council

Long-Term Care Facilities List

Family Involvement
in Nursing Care

Resident's Rights
Fact Sheet

Consumer Guide to Choosing A Nursing Home

The Western Piedmont Council of Governments shall serve all local government members in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties with professional, cost-effective assistance on a variety of local, regional, state and federal issues and programs.

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Telephone: ​828.322.9191

Fax: 828.322.5991

Mailing: P.O. Box 9026 | Hickory, NC 28603
Location: 1880 2nd Avenue NW
Hickory, NC 28601

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This institution does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services. Auxiliary aids and services for individuals with disabilities are available upon request. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.