Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
What does an Ombudsman do?
An Ombudsman listens to concerns and questions and works with residents, families and staff; local and state agencies; and other organizations to resolve problems or answer questions. Your ombudsman will:
- Advocate for the rights of residents in long-term care facilities
- Provide an effective means for the resolution of concerns about the quality of life in long-term care facilities
- Work with residents, families, operators and facility staff to meet the needs and concerns of those who live there
- Monitor laws, regulations and policies that affect those who live in long-term care facilities
- Provide public education to promote a better understanding about the use of long-term care facilities
- Help residents, family, staff and operators of facilities to establish a resident or family council
Who can use the Ombudsman program?
- Residents of nursing homes, boarding homes, adult family homes, and veteran’s homes
- Relatives and friends of residents in long-term care facilities
- Administrators and employees of long-term care facilities
- Any group or individual concerned about the welfare of residents of long-term care facilities
- The community at-large
Why do residents and their families need an Ombudsman?
Many frail and vulnerable residents cannot speak up for their needs and desires. Some residents are alone and have no close relatives or regular visitors to observe how they are being cared for or to advocate on their behalf. A designated Ombudsman gives long-distance caregivers in particular peace of mind by ensuring someone is looking out for their loved one’s needs.
Know Your Rights
A facility should care for its residents in a manner and in an environment that promotes maintenance or enhancement of each resident’s quality of life. A resident should have a safe, clean, comfortable and homelike environment to live in.
In brief, residents’ rights in a long-term care facility are:
- To be informed of your rights, the rules and policies of the facility, and to be told of all services available and all costs, including those charges covered or not included in the basic rate
- To be informed of your health condition, to participate in planning care and treatment or refuse any treatment, and to have your personal and medical records treated as confidential
- To be transferred or discharged only after written notice is given and only for increased medical needs, health and safety or non-payment
- To be encouraged to exercise your rights as a resident and citizen; to complain and suggest without fear of coercion or retaliation
- To manage your financial affairs, or, if this is delegated, to receive regular accounting
- To be free of mental and physical abuse and of chemical and physical restraints
- To participate in social, religious and community activities, as possible
- To have your own clothing and possessions and be allowed to use them as space permits
- To have privacy for visits and telephone calls, and to send and receive personal mail unopened
Contact the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
To use the Long Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman Program, or to inquire about becoming a certified volunteer Ombudsman contact one of the following:
Southwest Washington Long-Term Care Regional Ombudsman Office
State LTC Ombudsman Program
Toll Free: 800-562-6028
Area Agency on Aging & Disabilities
Become a Certified Volunteer Ombudsman
To learn more about becoming a Certified Volunteer Ombudsman please contact:
Neil Degerstedt, Regional Ombudsman
WA State Ombudsman’s website please click link:
Fall certification training dates: September 23,28,29, and 30