Long-Term Ombudsman

What is an Ombudsman? What does the word Ombudsman mean? Ombudsman is a Scandinavian word used worldwide meaning conciliation on behalf of citizens encountering difficulties in relating to government. As interpreted by organizations serving residents in long-term care facilities, an Ombudsman attempts to make nursing homes and governmental and community agencies more responsive to the needs of residents and their families. What is the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program? The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is federally and state mandated through the Older Americans Act and the Older Californians Act, respectively. The Ombudsman Program consists of concerned community members who are willing to advocate for the right and dignity of residents in nursing homes and community care facilities. They provide an on-going presence in facilities in order to promote the highest quality of life and care. All communications with an Ombudsman are confidential and there is never a charge for services. What are the issues Ombudsmen address? The Ombudsman is trained to assist in resolving problems concerning:

•  Resident’s Rights

•  Financial Problems

•  Medical Care

•  Meaningful Activities

•  Dietary Concerns

•  Physical Plant

•  Abuse

•  Regulatory Agencies

•  Legal Concerns

•  Quality of Care

•  Pharmaceutical Services

•  Personal Dignity

•  MediCal Services Access

What do Long-Term Care Ombudsmen do? Ombudsmen investigate and resolve complaints made by, or on behalf of, residents of long-term care facilities (nursing homes and residential care homes) by utilizing advocacy and mediation skills to resolve problems when they occur. They inform residents of their rights and endeavor to protect those rights. Ombudsmen will answer questions and provide information relating to long-term care facilities, such as quality of life, quality of care and resident’s rights. They are available as resources for  Resident and Family Councils. Ombudsmen promote community awareness of the needs of residents in nursing homes and community care facilities. They identify issues and problem areas in long-term care and recommend needed changes. Ombudsmen are assigned to facilities and make regular visits to see residents and their families to assist them in solving problems. They work to ensure that residents are getting the services and quality of care to which they are entitled. The ombudsman monitors the conditions of care and, when necessary, bring unresolved problems to the attention of appropriate agencies. They act to ensure that MediCal eligible residents are assisted with timely enrollment, advocate for MediCal service access, and monitor equal treatment regardless of pay status. Ombudsmen are mandated to respond to and investigate all reports of alleged or suspected abuse incidents occurring in residential care and skilled nursing facilities. Abuse includes physical, sexual, neglect, emotional, verbal and financial. Ombudsmen provide support to the residents while working with others to ensure appropriate actions are taken to provide a safe and abuse-free life for all residents.

To Contact an Ombudsman:

Santa Cruz County (831) 429-1913

San Benito County (831) 636-1638

24 Hour Crisis Line (800) 231-4024

Email an Ombudsman