What is a long-term care ombudsman?

If you have a loved one living in a nursing home in Alabama, you may be wondering what resources you have to ensure that the care and security provided are adequate. The long-term care ombudsman is just such a resource. This person is an official who has been authorized to hear complaints about nursing home conditions, issues with staff and with other residents and investigate them.

According to the Alabama Department of Senior Services, the Older Americans Act of 1965 and the Alabama Long-term Residential Health Care Recipient Ombudsman Act of 1985 require the state to have ombudsmen in place to protect the rights of residents in nursing home facilities. The people who fill these positions receive special training so that they are prepared to help you and your loved one deal with a variety of situations.

In addition to providing you with personal assistance when you are concerned about a problem with your loved one’s care, the ombudsman performs a number of functions to promote awareness of issues relevant to nursing home residents. This includes providing education and information on the following topics:

  •         Long-term care services available
  •         Resident’s rights
  •         Issues involving nursing home abuse and neglect

An ombudsman should routinely visit your nursing home and visit with families and residents, identifying problems and working toward solutions. There should be a resident council and a family council that you and your loved one can attend so you can be knowledgeable and involved in what goes on at the facility, as well. When laws and policies do not address issues currently affecting nursing home residents, your ombudsman takes these concerns to those working in government to resolve them.

This information about long-term care ombudsmen is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice. However, it may help you understand some of the protections and resources available to you and your loved one.

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