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A woman smiling outside. Nursing home ombudsman concept.

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How Ombudsmen Help Improve Nursing Home Care

The Long-Term Care Ombudsmen program helps improve nursing home care by continuously advocating for the rights and needs of the residents. They also work with the residents and their families to file formal complaints about any issues that may arise.

Recognizing that there is a problem in how your loved one is cared for in their nursing home, and knowing what to do about it are two different things. The latter is why the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) exists.

The LTCOP plays a crucial role in maintaining accountability. They help residents or their representatives navigate the formal complaint process. They ensure that the concerns of the residents and their representatives are heard and that the individuals who are affected understand what’s going on throughout the process.

About Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The LTCOP plays a vital role in elder care.They advocate for better care for nursing home residents. LTCOP staff members are trained to resolve problems, and they will help you with any complaints you may have about the care at your loved one’s home.

The Ombudsmen also informs the public about policy issues, residents’ rights and legislative matters surrounding nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. On top of informing the public about residents’ rights, the LTCOP also advocates for their rights. As part of their mandate, the LTCOP desires to ensure residents’ rights are met and that the residents receive quality care from the nursing home staff.

Advocating for Better Elder Care

It is essential to advocate for better elder care. While advocacy is not a campaign to bring about political change, it does highlight problems or needs in nursing home care. Once these issues are recognized and called out, then they can be addressed. And, depending on what problem is being looked at, by fixing it, the quality of life that the residents’ experience can be maintained or improved.

Advocates also work to ensure that the information you and your loved one need is presented in a way that you can understand. That includes explaining the complaint procedures. The LTCOP deals with many types of complaints.

For instance, the LTCOP will help you with any grievances you may have concerning:

  • The residents’ rights or dignity being violated
  • Abuse that they experience whether it’s physical, verbal or mental
  • The residents being deprived of the services they need to maintain their physical and mental health
  • The quality of care that the residents received being inadequate, including poor hygiene and sluggish response when the residents call for assistance

The above list is not exhaustive. If you have any concerns about the quality of care your loved one experiences or their quality of life in the nursing home, an ombudsman can help you pursue a formal complaint.

Reporting Abuse or Neglect to Long-Term Care Ombudsmen

If you wish to file a complaint with the long-term care ombudsman about the care your loved one is receiving there are a few things you need to know:

  • Nursing homes are required to post the contact information for LTCOP.
  • If you file a complaint on behalf of your loved one, the ombudsman will first need to check with your loved one to make sure this is something they want to pursue. If the resident provides consent, or the ombudsman determines that they are unable to provide consent, then the ombudsman will investigate the complaint.
  • The ombudsman will communicate with the resident or their representative throughout the investigation process.

If you have concerns about the care your loved one is receiving, contact your state’s long-term care ombudsman program. If you or a loved one have been involved in an abusive incident, there are resources. Always call the police if there is an immediate threat, and contact a nursing home abuse lawyer today for a free case review.

Nursing Home Abuse Support Team

The Nursing Home Abuse Center (NHAC) was founded to bring justice to those affected by nursing home and elder abuse. Our mission is to educate and empower victims of abuse and their families to take a stand against this unlawful mistreatment. We work to return dignity back to those who have been broken down by nursing home abuse and neglect.

“About Ombudsman Program,” The National Long-term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. Retrieved from: Accessed June 7, 2019.

“Health Education, Advocacy and Community Mobilisation,” The Open University. Retrieved from: Accessed June 8, 2019.

“Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program: What You Must Know,” The National Long-term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. Retrieved from: Accessed June 8, 2019.

“The Who, What, Where, Why and How of the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program,” The National Long-term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. Retrieved from: Accessed June 8, 2019.