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