Ombudsman

elder rights logoThe Long Term Care Ombudsman program protects the rights and personal needs of older people living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The LTC Ombudsman receives, investigates, and resolves complaints while protecting the resident's privacy. The LTC Ombudsman provides information and public education to individual residents or people requesting information on behalf of a resident regarding nursing homes, assisted living facilities, personal rights and benefits of residents, and services available to residents.

To contact a LTC Ombudsman elsewhere in Illinois, contact the Illinois Department on Aging

Nursing Home Abuse Center.org

Also, see Nursing Home & Long Term Care Links

The Long Term Care Ombudsman is an advocate who assists residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and their families by listening to their concerns, seeking to resolve problems within the facility, and helping to protect the rights of the residents.

Nursing home and assisted living residents have many important rights, among them are the right to be fully informed, participate in their care decisions, not be moved from the facility, manage their own finances except under certain circumstances, be free from abuse and restraint, have their care remain confidential, and retain privacy and respect. In addition, residents can expect to communicate freely, participate in activities, keep personal possessions, have marital privileges, purchase goods or services, and voice their concerns.

Not everyone realizes that residents of a nursing home and assisted living facility have these rights. The LTC Ombudsman is often asked to intervene on behalf of a resident to ensure that these rights are maintained.

The LTC Ombudsman program has strict standards on confidentiality. The name of the person making the complaint is not divulged unless there is permission to do so. In some cases, when the care of one or more residents is in question, their names may become obvious while trying to resolve the problem, but the name of the original person making the complaint is not revealed without permission.

The Ombudsman are paid staff, but there also are trained volunteers under the supervision of the paid staff. The volunteers receive training and can volunteer on a daily or an occasional basis. Nursing home and assisted living staff know who the volunteers are, but this is not usually an adversarial situation. The LTC Ombudsman staff and volunteers try to resolve problems to the resident's satisfaction. Nursing home and assisted living staff often call the LTC Ombudsman for assistance in solving residents' problems.

The regional Ombudsman staff visit every nursing home and assisted living facility in Southern Illinois. Volunteers visit one or more facilities of their choice. Some volunteers visit specific residents who have few, if any visitors, and others are involved in group activities in the nursing home or assisted living facility. It depends on the volunteer and what they are willing or wanting to do.

The word "ombud" is of Swedish origin and means "a deputy" according to Webster's New World dictionary. An Ombudsman is a public official who is appointed to investigate citizen's complaints.

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