Ombudsman Program

What is an Ombudsman?


Ombudsman is a Swedish word, which means “citizen representative.” Pennsylvania Ombudsmen are trained individuals who advocate to resolve complaints on behalf of people who receive
long-term care services.

What does an Ombudsman Do?


  • Provides information to residents and family about rights, procedures and additional resources within the facility or community.
  • Investigates concerns and works to resolve issues that may involve a resident in a long-term care facility.
  • Offers consumer education programs and carries out training for facility staff.
  • Assists in the development of resident and family councils.

Who uses an Ombudsman?


  • Residents or potential residents of long-term care facilities, as well as individuals receiving services from community and adult day care
  • Long-term care residents’ friends or family
  • Long-term care administrators and agencies
  • Members of community groups and government agencies
  • Citizens who want to improve long-term care

When should an Ombudsman be sought to help resolve issues?


  • When issues arise regarding consumer rights or the quality of care or treatment from a long-term facility. Additionally, when concerns involving transfer, discharges, discontinuance, or changes in services for residents occur.
  • The Ombudsman will investigate concerns and explore ways to arrive at a resolution

Residents of long-term care facilities have numerous rights under federal and state law.


Some of these rights are:



  • Right to know and exercise your rights
  • Right to know about services and financial charges
  • Right to be consulted in planning your medical treatment
  • Right to decline medical treatment
  • Right to confidentiality of records
  • Right to privacy in treatment and care
  • Right to freedom from restraints
  • Right to express grievances without fear of retaliation
  • Rights pertaining to admission, transfers and discharges, including the right to appeal