Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

The Ombudsman provides a voice for consumers of long-term care. These consumers include residents of nursing homes, residential care facilities, and adult care homes as well as recipients of “in-home” services.

Who coordinates and administers the program?
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is mandated by the Older Americans Act and is coordinated by the Ohio Department of Aging. There presently are twelve Regional Ombudsman Programs in Ohio. Each Regional Program is responsible for the counties located within its specific Planning and Service Area (PSA). The Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. (PSA7), located at Rio Grande, Ohio, administers the Ombudsman Program for the following counties: ADAMS, BROWN, GALLIA, HIGHLAND, JACKSON, LAWRENCE, PIKE, ROSS, SCIOTO and VINTON.

Primary Service/Complaint Investigation
The Ombudsman Program’s primary role is to investigate and resolve complaints concerning long-term care facilities and service providers in an effort to improve the quality of life and care for long-term care consumers. Complaints may encompass concerns about nursing care, client rights, food, financial and environmental issues, etc. All communications with the Ombudsman are confidential and there is no charge for the services rendered.  

Information and Referral
The Ombudsman Program also answers requests for information in an effort to make consumers aware of their rights and choices in long-term care matters. The Ombudsman can answer questions about: the availability of local “in-home” and “community-based” services; nursing home selection and placement; eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid; available alternatives to institutionalization; and address many other questions for users or potential users of long-term care services.

Advocacy
The Ombudsman Program conducts routine advocacy visits to long-term care facilities to educate residents and staff about Ombudsman Services and Resident Rights. In addition, the Ombudsman Program works to change the long-term care system by advocating for improvements in long-term care legislation and practice.

Education
The Ombudsman Program conducts educational programs and in-services for interested parties including long term care providers, community organizations, and other agencies about a myriad of topics:

  • Resident and Client Rights
  • Elder Abuse
  • Home Choice: Transition Coordination Services
  • Crime Victim Assistance Services
  • The Ombudsman Program and Services
  • How to Choose a Nursing Home or Long Term Care Provider
  • Medicare Fraud
  • Person Centered Care
  • How to Make an Appropriate Elder Abuse Referral
  • SHIP/The Senior Home Information Program
  • How to Develop Elder Abuse Interdisciplinary Teams

Volunteer Program
The Ombudsman Program recruits and trains volunteers who visit assigned nursing homes on a weekly basis. Volunteers provide a voice for nursing home residents and serve to lessen the isolation and loneliness experienced by many residents who have no one to speak on their behalf. Volunteers also help to educate residents about their rights, thus empowering them to become more vocal in resolving their own complaints and concerns.
Access the Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Volunteer Ombudsman Position Description and the Volunteer Ombudsman Application Form here.

Volunteer Ombudsmen plan their own schedules, are permitted to visit any day of the week, and are provided hands-on training and technical assistance by the Ombudsman Staff. Volunteers are recognized during an annual event, receive a quarterly newsletter, and are invited to various AAA7 training programs and conferences at no cost. Click here to see the Ombudsman Volunteer Newsletter!

The AAA7 Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (RLTCOP) is responsible for protecting and advocating for the rights of long-term care consumers including residents of nursing homes, assisted living and adult care facilities as well as recipients of in-home and/or community-based services.

Nursing Home Resident's Bill of Rights
Residents’ rights include:

  • Right to safe and clean living environment
  • Right to privacy
  • Right to information
  • Civil rights
  • Right to participate in treatment
  • Right to voice grievances
  • Right to manage personal finances
  • Right to adequate and appropriate medical and nursing care
  • Right to be free of Physical and Chemical Restraints
  • Right to take part in Community Activities
  • Right to be treated with courtesy and respect
  • Right to private visits and unrestricted communications
  • Right not to be transferred or discharged from the home
  • Right to be free from physical, verbal, mental, and emotional abuse.

Other Ombudsman Program Services:
Victims of Crime/VOCA Grant--Assists residents of long-term care facilities who are victims of crime. Ombudsmen provide advocacy and direct assistance to victims and will act on their behalf to reduce the traumatic effect of victimization, and ensure the victim’s ability to access, and participate in, the criminal justice system. This includes assisting the victim with notification of law enforcement, attending court appearances, protecting the resident from further abuse, and obtaining financial compensation for the victim, when eligible.

Transition Coordination Services/Home Choice--Assists qualified persons of any age with disabilities who wish to move from a nursing home to a community setting. The Ombudsman Transition Coordinator helps the individual locate housing, with benefits coordination, with purchasing household items and goods, and to connect to necessary services they need to live in the community.

Elder Abuse County Task Force Group--Ombudsmen are key members in county Elder Abuse Task Force Groups and Interdisciplinary Teams.  Ombudsmen attend meetings on a regular basis and work to educate the community, seniors, their families, and professionals about Elder Abuse.

Senior Home Information Program--Assists with the development and procurement of funding for the Senior Home Information Program (SHIP) in Ross County and Scioto County.  SHIP is a free service for older adults to help them to safely age in place in their homes. SHIP provides a free home security assessment, fire safety inspection, fall assessment, and long term care consultation. Provider referral e-mail information for SHIP in Ross County is rosscoship@yahoo.com and Karen Wilcoxon, AAA7 PASSPORT assessor - kwilcoxon@aaa7.org for SHIP in Scioto County.