What does an ombudsman do?
Ombudsman means citizen representative. They investigate reported complaints, report findings and help achieve resolutions. They can help one person resolve a problem, address issues that affect several residents or work to change a systemic problem.
Nursing home ombudsmen serve residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the following ways:
- Handles complaints — An ombudsman supports residents and families to resolve any problems or differences with the facility staff by defining concerns, explaining rights and identifying possible courses of action. An ombudsman can help resolve the problem in most cases; however, complaints involving serious abuse or neglect are referred to the appropriate agency. In all situations, confidentiality is maintained and no information is released without permission of the resident or legal guardian.
- Provides information and assistance — An ombudsman is a good source of information about selecting a long-term care facility, eligibility criteria, and other services for the elderly. Regional programs present facts about facilities. Residents' rights.
- Advocates for system and legislative changes — State and regional ombudsman programs work cooperatively with other advocacy organizations to and recommend legislation and regulatory changes that affect older Texans. Staff routinely serve on boards and committees of other organizations and actively advocate for policies to promote quality of care
Across Texas, through all 28 local ombudsman programs, certified ombudsmen serve residents, their families and friends. Professional staff supervise the volunteers.
To find out more about becoming a volunteer ombudsman, call 1-800-252-2412.
Updated: January 12, 2015