Ombudsman Program Overview
The Ombudsman provides a voice for consumers of long-term care. These consumers include residents of nursing homes, residential care facilities, and adult care homes as well as recipients of “in-home” services.
Who coordinates and administers the program?
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is mandated by the Older Americans Act and is coordinated by the Ohio Department of Aging. There presently are twelve Regional Ombudsman Programs in Ohio. Each Regional Program is responsible for the counties located within its specific Planning and Service Area (PSA). The Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. (PSA7), located at Rio Grande, Ohio, administers the Ombudsman Program for the following counties: Adams, Brown, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton.
Primary Service/Complaint Investigation
The primary role of the Ombudsman Program is to investigate and resolve complaints concerning long-term care facilities and home and community-based care providers in an effort to improve the quality of life and care for long-term care consumers. Complaints encompass concerns about the violation of client rights, nursing care issues, financial problems, food, environmental issues, and other matters of concern to consumers, their sponsors, and family members.
Information and Referral
The Ombudsman Program is also a valuable resource for general information regarding the rights of long-term care consumers. In addition, Ombudsmen can provide valuable assistance to individuals and families with long-term placement issues by providing the information and tools needed to make informed choices. This includes a listing of nursing homes, assisted living and adult care facilities, the latest survey reports on homes, and an array of other educational materials.
Advocacy and Education
The Ombudsman Program performs quarterly advocacy visits to long-term care facilities to educate staff, residents, and their families about Ombudsman Services, Residents’ Rights, and Person-Centered Care. Ombudsmen also conduct educational trainings that focus on Ombudsman Services, Resident and Client Rights, Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation, and more. These trainings are available for long-term care facilities, home health and senior service agencies, and the community.
The Ombudsman Program recruits and trains volunteers who visit assigned nursing homes on a weekly basis. Volunteers provide a voice for nursing home residents and serve to lessen the isolation and loneliness experienced by many residents who have no one to speak on their behalf. Volunteers also help to educate residents about their rights, thus empowering them to become more vocal in resolving their own complaints and concerns.
Access the Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Volunteer Ombudsman Position Description and the Volunteer Ombudsman Application Form here.
Volunteer Ombudsmen plan their own schedules, are permitted to visit any day of the week, and are provided hands-on training and technical assistance by the Ombudsman Staff. Volunteers are recognized during an annual event, receive a quarterly newsletter, and are invited to various AAA7 training programs and conferences at no cost.
The AAA7 Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (RLTCOP) is responsible for protecting and advocating for the rights of long-term care consumers including residents of nursing homes, assisted living and adult care facilities as well as recipients of in-home and/or community-based services.
Consumers have a right to expect home health caregivers to:
Arrive on time each day and show up on the day they are scheduled to work.
Provide individualized person-centered care allowing consumers to make choices and decisions about their care and life.
Provide quality care in a dignified manner. (Respects personal privacy, explains what they are going to do, and involves the consumer in their plan of care.)
Treat their home and belongings with respect.
Maintain confidentiality and professional boundaries. (Does not ask the consumer for money, to look at their financial records or checkbook, or expect the consumer to fix their personal problems.)
Nursing Home Resident's Bill of Rights
Residents’ rights include:
Right to safe and clean living environment
Right to privacy
Right to information
Right to participate in treatment
Right to voice grievances
Right to manage personal finances
Right to adequate and appropriate medical and nursing care
Right to be free of Physical and Chemical Restraints
Right to take part in Community Activities
Right to be treated with courtesy and respect
Right to private visits and unrestricted communications
Right not to be transferred or discharged from the home
Right to be free from physical, verbal, mental, and emotional abuse.
Other Ombudsman Program Services:
Transition Coordination Services/Home Choice - Assists qualified persons of any age with disabilities who wish to move from a nursing home to a community setting. The Ombudsman Transition Coordinator helps the individual locate housing, with benefits coordination, with purchasing household items and goods, and to connect to necessary services they need to live in the community.
Senior Home Information Program - Assists with the development and procurement of funding for the Senior Home Information Program (SHIP) in Ross County and Scioto County. SHIP is a free service for older adults to help them to safely age in place in their homes. SHIP provides a free home security assessment, fire safety inspection, fall assessment, and long term care consultation. Provider referral e-mail information for SHIP in Ross County and Scioto County is Cindy Throckmorton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-582-7277, ext. 23310.
CLICK HERE for our general brochure about the AAA7 Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.