What is the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program?

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The Long-Term Care (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 LTC Ombudsman programs are housed in other state agencies or are contracted outside of state government.

In 2014, a corps of 12, 215 volunteer ombudsmen and 1,283 paid ombudsmen, located in 557 local agencies (339 of which were area agencies on aging) investigated more than 188,599 complaint issues for residents of long-term care facilities and routinely visited residents to monitor care.