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Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

Woman assisting elderly woman in wheelchair

The Ombudsman Program advocates for the rights and quality of life for residents of skilled nursing facilities, residential care facilities for the elderly, and those who attend adult day health care programs. The State-Certified Ombudsmen Advocates are independent, neutral, and objective. They monitor facilities to receive and investigate complaints, report findings, and then work with facility staff, family members and others to achieve equitable resolutions.

An Ombudsman is:

  • An advocate who gives voice to the resident and assures the resident that his/her rights will be protected.
  • A mandated investigator of complaints made by or behalf of a long-term care resident.
  • A problem solver responsible for identifying root causes of a problem and to resolve complaints and concerns.
  • A mediator who assists the parties of a dispute in reaching mutual agreement and not impose his/her opinions upon those persons involved.
  • An observer who often notice problems in facilities that residents and/or staff may be unaware of.
  • A mandated witness of any Advanced Care Health Directive executed by a resident of a skilled nursing facility.
  • An educator who informs residents and their families on what is required of facilities by regulations, helping residents and their representatives clarify what they expect to receive.
  • A mandated reporter of suspected elder and dependent abuse that may happen to any resident of a long-term care facility.
  • A broker who may refer cases to other agencies with the permission of the resident.

Becoming a State-Certified Long-Term Care Ombudsman

To become an LTC State-Certified Ombudsman, an individual must enroll in a free 36-hour training course, which includes program history, structure and funding, as well as the roles and responsibilities of an Ombudsman, aspects of aging, resident’s rights, community resources, problem solving and casework techniques, and field trips to community facilities.

Individuals who complete the training and a 15-hour internship with a veteran Ombudsman are officially certified by the State of California. After certification, the Ombudsman is assigned a facility to visit and monitor on a regular basis.

In partnership with the Area Agency on Aging, Catholic Charities administers the Ombudsman Program in the Mother Lode and in Stanislaus County.