Welcome! The LTC Ombudsman Program serves as an advocate and resource for older adults who reside in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living and board & care homes. Ombudsmen help residents and their families understand and exercise their rights to quality of care and quality of life. The program advocates for residents at both the individual and systems levels by receiving, investigating and resolving complaints made by or on behalf of residents, promoting the development of resident and family councils, and informing governmental agencies, providers and the general public about issues and concerns impacting residents of long-term care facilities.
Under the Older Americans Act, each state is required to establish an Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Each state organizes and operates the program in the way that best serves the needs of its residents. Most of the state ombudsman programs are administratively housed within the State Unit on Aging and provide advocacy services through a network of local or regional staff and volunteers. Other programs are housed in other state agencies or are contracted outside of state government.
In 2012, a corps of 11,969 volunteer ombudsmen and 1,180 paid ombudsmen, located in 573 local agencies (345 of which were area agencies on aging) investigated more than 193,650 complaint issues for residents of long-term care facilities and routinely visited residents to monitor care.
Collaboration between Long-Term Care Ombudsmen and Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) is beneficial in making informed long-term care choices. ADRCs are a vital bank of information for people considering home and community-based services in lieu of institutional settings. This report presents findings from a survey of states’ Ombudsman programs on what types of collaboration exist; some work with ADRCs by making referrals, conducting training, and/or exchanging information.
This report is meant to serve as an overview of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (SLTCOP), which was established to advocate for people living in long-term care facilities. The report is useful to State Unit on Aging (SUA) Directors by providing program history, practices, and unique role in the aging network. The report also discusses the implications for the LTC Ombudsman role as residents move away from facilities to home and community-based services.