Get started by searching below:

Ombudsman for Nursing Homes

Find Out How an Ombudsman Can Help

Quick Answer

An ombudsman for nursing homes protects residents’ rights, stops and prevents abuse, and holds abusive staff accountable. Each state and most U.S. territories have an Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. These offices have local ombudsman programs in place to help protect the well-being of nursing home residents. If your loved one in a nursing home is suffering from abuse, you can report it to your local ombudsman. After reporting the abuse, you may also want to seek legal help — get a free consultation right now.

Get a Free Case Review

What Is an Ombudsman for Nursing Home Abuse?

A nursing home ombudsman — also known as a long-term care ombudsman (LTC ombudsman) — is a public official who works to resolve resident issues in nursing facilities. Residents and their loved ones can bring complaints or concerns to an ombudsman, who will then work to find solutions on their behalf.

A nursing home ombudsman helps an older woman fill out paperwork at a desk.

An ombudsman for nursing homes can help in many cases. However, sometimes, families need additional support, such as when a loved one is harmed due to nursing home abuse or neglect.

In these cases, it may be best to connect with an experienced nursing home attorney. A skilled lawyer may be able to help you file a lawsuit to hold the negligent nursing home accountable. This can mean financial compensation and justice.

Find out if you are eligible right now with a free case evaluation.

Free Case ReviewFree Case Review

Get a free legal case review if you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect.

Get a Free Case Reviewor call (855) 264-6310

Quick Facts: Ombudsman Nursing Homes

Below are the most recent facts and figures from the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. The information reflects 2022 data from the National Ombudsman Reporting System (NORS).

Ombudsman nursing home programs:

  • Provided information and aid to 407,817 people
  • Investigated 182,864 complaints from residents and family members
  • Consulted with 162,073 nursing home care facility managers, staff, and volunteers
  • Visited 18,618 facilities at least quarterly to help residents and train staff
  • Offered 6,714 community education sessions
  • Maintained 4,049 certified volunteers
  • Held 2,054 training sessions for nursing home staff members
  • Employed 1,835 full-time staff
  • Ran 446 local Ombudsman offices
  • Operated 53 state Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs (each state, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C.)

What Does a Nursing Home Ombudsman Do?

Ombudsman nursing home programs offer a variety of services to protect older adults against nursing home neglect and abuse.

Learn more about ombudsman nursing home services below.

1. Assisting Residents and Families With Complaints

A nursing home ombudsman provides a vital resource for people to voice complaints. This is especially true for families of residents who, due to dementia or other disabilities, cannot advocate for themselves. The ombudsman can check in with nursing home residents and address any issues or concerns.

The most common complaints ombudsman for nursing homes investigated in the past year were related to:

All complaints a nursing home ombudsman receives are confidential unless the resident or family member gives permission otherwise. This means issues can be addressed without fear of staff retaliation.

Call us today at (855) 264-6310, if you or a loved one has suffered from nursing home neglect or abuse.

2. Enhancing Care Through Ombudsman Nursing Home Services

Beyond addressing individual complaints, an ombudsman for nursing homes also improves the quality of care all residents receive in nursing homes. They do this by visiting nursing homes and making suggestions to help residents.

“Our bread and butter, what we do every day, is visit facilities, talk and meet with residents, get to know them, build trust and rapport with them, then gather information as to what their concerns are about.”

–Patricia Hunter, MSW, Nursing Home Ombudsman

By visiting a facility, an ombudsman for nursing homes may improve the standard of care since staff members know they are being monitored by a third party. During these visits, the nursing home ombudsman can also look for possible signs of nursing home abuse and neglect.

Further, a nursing home ombudsman can inform residents of their rights while they live in the facility and help families create care plans.

3. Holding Negligent Nursing Homes Responsible

After receiving a complaint, an ombudsman can take concrete steps to solve residents’ problems. This includes reporting nursing home abuse to administrators or the proper legal channels.

“Federal law gives each nursing home resident the right to quality care and quality of life. This includes freedom from neglect, abuse, exploitation, and misappropriation of property.”

–The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care Fact Sheet

By reporting cases of abuse, ombudsman nursing home advocates help hold nursing homes to the standard of care set by federal and state laws, ultimately improving residents’ quality of life and preventing elder abuse.

For example, a facility might fire abusive staff and create new rules to keep residents safe after an ombudsman explains that residents are being abused.

The ombudsman may also recommend legal options to protect residents who are suffering.

Find out if you can take legal action right now with a free consultation.

Free Case ReviewFree Case Review

Get a free legal case review if you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect.

Get a Free Case Reviewor call (855) 264-6310

4. Working With Government Agencies

Ombudsman nursing home programs are run by the Administration on Aging (AoA) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

Because of this, an ombudsman for nursing homes must work closely with government departments at the local, state, and national levels to keep older adults safe.

All ombudsman programs that monitor care homes and assisted living facilities enter records from each visit into the NORS database.

This system stores data on:

  • How many facilities have been visited
  • How many hours have been spent in each facility
  • What kinds of complaints have been handled or resolved

As part of their reports, a nursing home ombudsman notes which complaints are common, which ones are the most severe, and where elder care falls short in specific facilities.

The data that ombudsman nursing home programs collect helps government officials address systemic issues that affect older adults across the country.

When Is a Nursing Home Ombudsman Used?

Residents and families may need to work with an ombudsman for nursing homes if they can’t solve issues by working directly with staff members or administrators.

Working with an ombudsman for nursing homes is crucial when there are concerns or issues related to care, safety, and resident rights in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. They step in to advocate for residents, address complaints, and resolve problems.

Take our Nursing Home Abuse Quiz if you suspect you may need the help of an ombudsman for nursing homes.

Were You or a Loved One Abused or Neglected?
Take Our Nursing Home Abuse Quiz

While many elders face health problems as they age, they should never have to suffer from abuse or neglect. Take this quiz to help you identify possible signs of nursing home abuse and learn about next steps.

Let's Begin:

Who may have suffered nursing home abuse or neglect?

How Do I Contact My Local Ombudsman for Nursing Homes?

You can find contact information for an ombudsman for assisted living in your area through the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center’s list of ombudsmen.

This site provides names, phone numbers, and addresses for every state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP).

Alternatively, you can call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116, a public service connecting older adults and their caregivers with information on senior services.

Your local Area Agency on Aging is another useful resource for ombudsman contact details.

Get Help From a Nursing Home Ombudsman

You can contact your local office to get help from an ombudsman nursing home program. A staff member or volunteer can help advocate for residents who have suffered elder abuse or neglect. They can also help investigate the situation.

However, for more urgent matters, you may wish to contact your local Adult Protective Services (APS) office. You should always call 911 in any emergency.

In situations of nursing home abuse or neglect, you may be able to seek legal assistance from a skilled nursing home abuse lawyer instead.

Reach out to us directly.

Contact us directly for fast, personalized assistance from our dedicated team.

(855) 264-6310

By taking legal action, your family can:

  • Find closure after nursing home abuse or neglect
  • Get financial compensation for health care costs and other expenses
  • Hold abusive nursing facility staff and other care providers accountable

Call (855) 264-6310 right now or get a free legal case review to start the process.

Ombudsman Nursing Home FAQs

What does ombudsman mean in health care?

In health care, an ombudsman is a human service advocate who resolves violations of the rights and welfare of people living in nursing homes, assisted living residences, and other care facilities.

What does an ombudsman typically do in nursing homes?

A nursing home ombudsman plays a key role in preventing elder abuse and helping to stop it if it is already occurring.

An ombudsman for nursing homes prevents residents from suffering by improving the care that facilities provide. They can also listen to complaints of possible abuse or neglect and address them before the problem worsens.

When were nursing home ombudsman programs created?

The national U.S. Long-Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman program was established in 1972.

This program operates under the Older Americans Act (OAA). This act was signed into law in 1965 to protect older Americans. The OAA also authorized the creation of the AoA, which currently funds state ombudsman offices.

Over 1,800 full-time staff members and more than 4,000 certified volunteers work across the country as part of this program.

Does every state have an ombudsman program?

Yes. Each state has its own long-term care ombudsman office, as do Guam, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

An official ombudsman for each state oversees staff and volunteers who work to improve residents’ care.

How do I report a nursing home for negligence?

After contacting an ombudsman for nursing home negligence, you may also want to connect with a nursing home abuse lawyer.

These attorneys may be able to help you and your family pursue financial compensation after nursing home abuse or neglect has been committed.

Learn more about your legal options with a free case review right now.

Nursing Home Abuse Support Team
Julie Rivers HeadshotReviewed by:Julie Rivers, MBA

Eldercare Advocate & Expert

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Julie Rivers is an eldercare advocate with over 15 years of dedicated service to victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Her journey in this field became deeply personal when she assumed the role of an unpaid caregiver during her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

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.

  1. Administration for Community Living. (2023, July 25). Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Retrieved January 30, 2024, from
  2. National Center on Elder Abuse. (n.d.). Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program: What You Must Know. Retrieved January 30, 2024, from
  3. National Consumer Voice. (n.d.). Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Data. Retrieved January 30, 2024, from
  4. The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. (n.d.). About the ombudsman program. Retrieved January 30, 2024, from
  5. The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. (2024, January 9). The who, what, where, why, and how of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Retrieved January 30, 2024, from
  6. Paulin, E. (2020, May 01). Nursing Home Complaint? Call Your Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Retrieved January 30, 2024, from
  7. Utah Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Long-term care ombudsman. Retrieved January 30, 2024, from