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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 authorized under the federal Older Americans Act and administered at the state level. We provide residents of long-term care facilities with access to effective advocacy in order to ensure that they receive the quality of care and quality of life they deserve and are entitled to by law.

What does an Ombudsman Representative Do?


Certified Ombudsman Representatives make regular visits to long-term care (LTC) facilities, such as skilled nursing facilities and residential care facilities for the elderly or assisted living facilities. Ombudsman Representatives also meet with residents of LTC facilities to investigate complaints made by, or on behalf of, those residents.  We provide advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels, and provide education for residents, staff, caregivers, and family members. We also witness Advanced Health Care Directives (in skilled nursing facilities only).

What sorts of issues do Ombudsman Representatives handle?

•  Residents' 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

How do I get Ombudsman Assistance?

Our Ombudsman Representatives are just a phone call away!  Residents of San Benito County can reach us by phone at (831) 636-1638 and residents of Santa Cruz County can reach us at (831) 429-1913.  You can also email us at, but please do not email confidential information.


How do I become a Volunteer Ombudsman Representative?


  1. Complete the 36-hour training (online and classroom) and a 12-hour internship.

  2. Visit assigned facilities on a regular basis for the purpose of hearing, investigating, and resolving complaints made by or on behalf of residents of long-term care facilities.

  3. Honor complete confidentiality in regards to residents, cases, and facilities.

  4. Act as an advocate for the "expressed wish" of the long-term care resident.

  5. Provide a minimum of 2 to 3 hours of service each week, or 8 to 15 hours a month.

  6. Attend the monthly 2-hour volunteer meeting/training.

  7. Maintain accurate case notes and submit facility reports each month.

  8. Provide ombudsman services in a manner consistent with federal and state requirements, as well as local program policies and procedures

  9. Strictly observe the ombudsman-specific regulations regarding known or observed physical abuse of any resident in a long-term care facility. (We are not mandated reporters.)


  1. Compassion for older people and a commitment to work in a long-term care environment

  2. Ability to pass a background check after the training

  3. Ability to record in written form, all necessary information about a complaint. 

  4. Possession of a valid California driver's license and access to a fully insured vehicle


  1. May not have been employed by a long-term care facility for at least  one year

  2. May not have a financial interest in a long-term care facility


  1. The satisfaction of working with people in need and promoting change that helps a person live out their remaining years in dignity and with respect

  2. Valuable knowledge about the rights of long-term care residents, the  regulatory system, and services available to help residents and their families

  3. Making a difference in the lives of aging residents and your community

  4. Mileage reimbursement!

Download an application to become a Volunteer Ombudsman.

How do I become a Volunteer OMB?
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