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800-AGE-INFO: Additional Information for Massachusetts Elders
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LGBT Aging Project

Nursing Home Ombudsman

A VOICE FOR RESIDENTS – Ombudsman: A Swedish word meaning representative

The Ombudsman program provides advocacy for residents of long term care facilities and works to improve their quality of life and care.  The program is federally mandated under the Older Americans Act.  In Massachusetts, Ombudsman Volunteers are trained and certified by the state’s Executive Office of Elder Affairs and receive ongoing training by Tri-Valley Ombudsman staff.

Ombudsmen make regular visits to all nursing and rest home facilities in the program area to investigate and resolve complaints by residents.  The Ombudsman assigned to a facility deals with issues ranging from personal care and roommate problems to food quality, activities and anything that impacts the quality of life and care for the residents.

The program also works with family members, friends and facility staff and provides information to the public on selecting a long term care facility, resident rights, state and federal regulations and other resources such as legal aid or caregiver support groups. Ombudsman staff are available to make educational presentations both in a facility setting or for the general public.

Most complaints are resolved within the facility.  The Ombudsman will investigate all complaints and negotiate with the facility administration to reach a resolution.  On more difficult issues, or issues involving health, safety or misappropriation, complaints may be referred to the State Ombudsman at the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (tel. 617-727-7750), the Department of Public Health (tel. 800-462-5540) or the Attorney General’s office (tel. 800-477-2477).

Eligibility:

Any resident of a nursing or rest home, regardless of age or income, whether short term or long term stay, is eligible for a weekly visit from the Ombudsman assigned to their facility.

Cost:

There are no costs to the residents for any service that the Ombudsman provides.

To locate a Long Term Care Facility:

Contact the Ombudsman Program at Tri-Valley about selecting a Long Term Care Facility in Tri-Valley’s area.

For more information about Ombudsman services:

Start by contacting Tri-Valley’s Information & Resource Department.