Nursing Home Justice Blog

How Can an Ombudsman Help Elder Abuse Victims?

Written By:

Attorney Mac Hester

Date Posted:

May 30, 2023

What is an Ombudsman?

Under the Older Americans Act, every state must have an ombudsman program. Ombudsmen are personal representatives for older adults who advocate for nursing home residents’ rights. They frequently visit nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to ensure residents receive only the highest quality of care.

According to a 2020 report from Disability Law Colorado, local ombudsmen investigated 4,263 complaints, 3,256 of which were partially or fully resolved. They also provided 5,341 consultations to staff or administrators and attended 1,428 council meetings.

What is the Role of a Nursing Home Ombudsman?

Ombudsmen are fundamental to your or your loved one’s protection in a nursing home. They personally investigate resident complaints, hold negligent nursing homes accountable, and report their findings to government agencies.

They Handle Complaints from Residents

When you or your loved one’s rights are violated, you can file a complaint with your local Denver ombudsman, and they will investigate the situation. This doesn’t always have to apply to serious cases of mistreatment, such as physical abuse or neglect.

You can file a complaint if nursing homes violate any of your rights, no matter how big or small. These rights include not receiving meals at your preferred time, the right to visitors, the right to control your finances, and many more.

Your ombudsman might involve local health departments or law enforcement officials, depending on the details of your complaint. In some cases, you or your loved one might be relocated to another nursing home.

They Hold Nursing Homes Accountable

Ombudsman must visit the nursing homes in their respective areas at least once per month, and they must visit the assisted living facilities at least once per quarter. During each visit, they observe how nursing homes care for their residents and each patient’s condition.

Nursing home staff members must allow the ombudsman to enter the facility, and they cannot interfere with the ombudsman’s visit. If the ombudsman believes the nursing home has violated any residents’ rights, they could report their concerns and take action.

They Work with Government Agencies to Report Abuse

An ombudsman reports directly to government agencies, like the Administration on Aging and Administration for Community Living. These reports are recorded in the National Ombudsman Reporting System and contain valuable insight into the current state of nursing home care in this country.

Accurate reporting has already helped the federal government understand the widespread issue of nursing home abuse, and new legislation has been enforced to affect change.

How Do You Contact an Ombudsman?

The Older Americans Act states that all residents should have access to ombudsman services, and every licensed nursing home should have this information posted somewhere within the facility. So, if you feel that your loved one is being abused or their rights are being violated, request your local ombudsman’s contact information from the nursing home staff. You can also contact your regional ombudsman and file a complaint.

Contact Nursing Home Justice Today

When you or your loved one suffers abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you need an advocate willing to provide an honest report of the living conditions within the facility. Not only will this report help prevent future cases of abuse, but it can also be used as evidence in your personal injury claim.

Nursing Home Justice is dedicated to seeing you made whole again and will walk you through each step of the claims process. Our elder abuse lawyers will find who’s liable and help you recover total compensation for your damages. Contact us today at (303) 775-8128 for a free consultation.

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