Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
Long-Term Care Ombudsmen assist residents of long-term care facilities in exercising their rights and attempt to resolve grievances between residents/families and facilities.
The regional ombudsmen help support the efforts of Adult Care Home and Nursing Home Community Advisory Committees (N.C.G.S. 131E-128 and 131D-3).
The services provided by the Ombudsman Program include:
- Answering questions and giving guidance about the long-term care system. An ombudsman will:
- explain long-term care options
- give pointers on how to select a long-term care facility and provide information on specific facilities (such as the latest and past certification survey reports and complaint information)
- explain residents' rights and other federal and state laws and regulations affecting long-term care facilities and residents
- give guidance on the Medicaid and Medicare programs—specifically on coverage criteria, application procedures and what services these programs cover
- Give guidance on such matters such as powers of attorney, living wills and guardianship.
- Educating community groups and long-term care providers on various topics such as residents' rights, restraint use, care planning, activities and new laws.
- Investigating and assessing matters to help families and residents resolve concerns and problems. Common areas of complaints include:
- Inadequate medical and personal services being provided to residents such as problems with medication, nutrition and personal hygiene
- financial concerns such as handling of residents' funds, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security
- rights of residents, such as the right to be treated with courtesy and to have individual requests and preferences respected
- nursing home administrative decisions, such as admission to or discharge from a facility
- Working with appropriate regulatory agencies and referring individuals to such agencies when resolutions of concerns or grievances are not possible through the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program alone.
- Raising long-term care issues of concern to policymakers.
The NC General Assembly authorized three types of community advisory committees
• Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee
• Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee
• Nursing and Adult Care Home Joint Community Advisory Committee
Each committee is mandated to
- Work to maintain the intent of the Resident’s Bill of Rights and ensure quality care for the long term care residents.
- Promote community involvement and cooperation within long term care facilities.
- Conduct quarterly visits in adult care homes and nursing homes in the county and annually visit all family care homes in the county.
- Apprise itself of the general conditions under which the persons are residing in the homes and shall work for the best interests of the persons in the homes. This may include assisting persons who have grievances with the home and facilitating the resolution of grievances at the local level.
- Prepare reports as required by the Department of Health and Human Services containing an appraisal of the problems of facilities as well as issues affecting long term care in general.
For More Information Contact
Tyronda Whitaker, Regional Ombudsman