The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program: Educating, Empowering, Advocating
The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) is an advocate and resource for persons who reside in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living and board & care homes. Ombudsmen help residents and their families understand and exercise their rights and effectively address concerns which impact their health, safety and quality of life. The program advocates for residents at both the individual and systems levels by receiving, investigating and resolving complaints made by or on behalf of residents, promoting the development of resident and family councils, and informing governmental agencies, providers and the general public about issues and concerns impacting residents of long-term care facilities.
The Older Americans Act, which is administered by the Administration on Aging (AoA), requires each state to establish an Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Each state organizes and operates the program in the way that best serves the needs of its residents. In New York, the program is administratively housed within the state Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), and provides advocacy services through a network of 34 local programs.
Each local ombudsman program has a designated ombudsman coordinator who recruits, trains and supervises a corps of trained volunteers. There are currently 920 LTCOP volunteers statewide. They provide a regular presence in nursing homes and adult care facilities. A recent article in the Schenectady Daily Gazette highlighted the volunteer Ombudsman experience and the daily impact the program has on the lives of the long term care resident's it serves: http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2014/feb/15/people-sought-be-voices-caring/
In fiscal year 2013, the NYS Ombudsman Program:
- investigated 2,658 complaints, resolving an average of 78% of all complaints
- assisted more than 30,000 individuals with information and consultation about long-term care questions and issues
- regularly visited 78% of nursing homes and 44% of adult care facilities to provide residents with access to advocacy assistance and to monitor quality of care
- conducted 190 community education sessions on residents' rights and long-term care issues
- volunteers contributed 136,253 hours of service in support of advocacy on behalf of long-term care residents.
Did You Know?
The New York State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is in need of volunteers. Contact the New York State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program at 1-800-342-9871 or visit the NY State Ombudsman Program website: www.ltcombudsman.ny.gov.