If you or a loved one are connected to a long-term care facility, you may have heard or seen the word “Ombudsman.” But what does it mean? The word ombudsman is Sweedish in origin, and literally means “representative.” Today it is understood to mean “a person (such as a government official or an employee) who investigates complaints and tries to deal with problems fairly” according to Merriam-Webster Online.
Obudsman offices can be found throughout the nation for a variety of causes. Of special interested to our elder community and their families however, is the State of California Long-Term Care Ombudsman advocacy program. The LTC Obudsman office provides services to to ensure the rights and well-being of the elderly. In particular, they receive, investigate, and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of, residents of long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. They can also help you file a formal complaint with the California Department of Health Services. It is important to note that the LTC Ombudsman is run by paid staff and volunteers, and does not have any powers or direct authority over the long-term care facilities.
If you would like more information about Long-Term Care Ombudsman, or to request assistance, call their 24 hour a day CRISIS line at 1-800-231-4024.
San Diego County’s Ombudsman Site: http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/hhsa/programs/ais/ombudsman_long_term_care/index.html#About_Long_Term_Care_Ombudsman_Program