November 18, 2012 by astancilwomack
As I mentioned yesterday , I worked at a nursing home/rehabilitation center as an activities assistant. I definitely had the fun job! Throughout my time there I often heard the term Ombudsman, but I had no idea what it was or what is meant. According to Merriam-Webster the term ombudsman means “a government official… appointed to receive and investigate complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials.”
The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center is the large advocates for people in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and board and care homes. Their purpose is to ensure residents of these facilities are receiving the care they expect. They are also a resource to help patients and their families find trusted long-term care. They also take and resolve complaints pertaining to the care they are (or aren’t) receiving.
The NORC is a government funded program, but is primarily run by volunteers. Only approximately 13% of the network are paid employees. The program is administered by the Administration on Aging (AoA). According to the NORC their primary functions and goals are as follows:
- Resolves complaints made by or for residents of long-term care facilities
- Educates consumers and long-term care providers about residents’ rights and good care practices
- Promotes community involvement through volunteer opportunities
- Provides information to the public on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and services, resident’s rights and legislative and policy issues
- Advocates for residents’ rights and quality care in nursing homes, personal care, residential care and other long-term care facilities
- Promotes the development of citizen organizations, family councils and resident councils
- Long-term care ombudsmen efforts are summarized in the National Ombudsman Reporting Systems to include the number of facilities visited, the types of complaints handled and the kinds of complaints filed with ombudsmen. Data has been collected since 1996 and gives a good picture of the extent of ombudsman activities nationally and in every state . “
As you can see this is a great resource for these residents and their families, but administration of these facilities should make their employees aware of this program. Of course your facility and employees should not need to know about this program in order to do their best work, and follow your company’s strict guidelines, but it is nice for employees to know that residents have this resource. Also, the Ombudsman group can be a referral source for you, so making sure to exceed their expectations can bring new residents to the facility. It’s nice to finally know what a great program this is. Hopefully you learned something new as well that will be a resource for you or your family should you need to utilize it.