Ombudsman for the Elderly
Ombudsmen are advocates for seniors in long-term care.
What is an Ombudsman?
An Ombudsman is an advocate. As a representative of the Area Agency on Aging of North Idaho our ombudsmen serve as advocates for persons over the age of 60 residing in long term care facilities, including assisted living facilities, or skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers.
Residents of long term care facilities are often vulnerable physically and/or mentally. They need interested and caring people to advocate for them. Families are often not able to be as involved as they want or need to be. Trained Ombudsman provide an ongoing presence in the facilities to advocate for resident’s rights, quality of care, and quality of life.
Ombudsmen are problem solvers who receive and investigate resident complaints. Through observation and mediation they assist residents to resolve concerns.
Resident concerns may include, but are not limited to, facility care, personal rights, family issues, or accessing long-term care. Complaints may be made about any person or institution that interferes with the rights, health or safety of a resident in long-term care.
How are concerns handled?
After receiving a problem or concern, the Ombudsman acts as an independent third party. They investigate the situation, mediate between the senior and other concerned parties, and recommend corrective action to resolve the concern.
In addition to the Ombudsman, facilities must have a way for residents to report concerns and complaints. Most facilities have a Resident Council comprised of people who live at the facility. Their job is to recognize concerns and discuss solutions.
Many facilities also have a Family Council, as well, which provides family support of resident concerns.
How to Report a Concern or Complaint
By law, you have the right to ask questions and voice your concerns. You can do this by:
- Reporting your concerns to the management staff of your facility. Most facilities want to know when there is a problem. Or, you may be more comfortable bringing your issue to the Resident or Family Council.
- If you still feel your issues have not been adequately addressed, you have the option to contact your local Ombudsman.
- Residents also have the right to contact Idaho’s survey and licensing agency at (208) 334-6626.
Who is Eligible for this Program?
Eligible participants include residents of long-term care facilities, their families and friends, concerned facility staff, and any person or group concerned about resident treatment.
In addition to addressing resident concerns, the Ombudsman is an excellent resource of community information.
Ombudsmen can provide in-service training to facility staff. They can also provide public information to community groups regarding senior benefits, resident’s rights, Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care issues, and many other topics impacting older persons.
Residents have the right to:
- Be fully informed
- Choose his/her own doctor
- Voice grievances
- Be free from abuse and restraint
- Participate in activities
- Purchase goods and services
- Participate in his/her own finances
- Communicate freely
- Keep his/her possessions
- Retain marital privileges
- Have privacy
- Be treated with dignity and respect
Contact Your Ombudsman at...
All information is kept strictly confidential and program services are provided at no cost.