What is a Long-Term Care Ombudsman?

Issues for an Ombudsman

To Contact Us

The Volunteer Ombudsman Program

Contact an Ombudsman if
 you have concerns about 
any of the following issues:

Contact your local Ombudsman

Who should Call?

Anyone who has a concern about a long-term care resident may contact the Ombudsman. These people might be:

  • A friend or relative
  • Facility staff or administrator
  • Health care official
  • Anonymous caller
  • Guardian


Copyright © 2000 AR Division of Aging and Adult Services 

 

 

  

FINANCES

Paying for nursing home care requires knowing all the options available.  The Ombudsman will gladly assist the resident or family member to understand what choices exist and how to make application.

 If a resident believes that someone is misusing his/her personal funds, the Ombudsman will help the resident to resolve this issue.  Often, the Ombudsman, with the residentís permission will forward these concerns on to the correct investigative resource.

 Pay for Care

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MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY

 

In order to receive Medicaid payment for a nursing home resident, the resident must apply at the county DHS office where the facility is located for long term care Medicaid, even if the resident is already Medicaid eligible. 

 

Some residents may make too much money to be eligible for Medicaid initially, but a Millerís Trust may be a way to help qualify for long-term care Medicaid.  The Ombudsman will be glad to talk with the resident and family to discuss this option and explain the process to pursue this choice.

Contact Your Ombudsman

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RESTRAINTS

  There are specific rules and regulations regarding implementation of chemical and physical restraints. The Ombudsman will gladly discuss with the resident and family member the proper usage for restraints.

  Physical restraints include vest and wrist restraints used to tie a resident to a chair or bed.  Wrist restraints are used to prevent movement of the arm often to prevent removal of an IV or feeding tube.  Mitts are used to prevent scratching or picking up items.  Chairs with tray tables or bed roll bars are forms of physical restraints.  Full side bed rails used to keep a resident in bed are also considered a physical restraint.

  Chemical restraints are mind-altering drugs used to control a residentís behavioral symptoms.  Psychoactive drugs are not chemical restraints when used to treat severe mental illness.  Psychoactive drugs include antipsychotics or major tranquilizers which are used to treat serious mental illness or distress; sedatives/hypnotics are used to treat insomnia/sleeplessness; antidepressants are used to treat depression; and anxiolytics or minor tranquilizers are used to treat anxiety.

No restraint should be utilized for the convenience of the staff, and each restraint must have an order from the physician detailing its use.

Contact Your Ombudsman

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GUARDIANSHIP

 

 Guardianship is often confused with power of attorney and representative payee.  Only a Judge in a court of law has the authority to appoint a guardian, and by doing so declares the individual in question incompetent.   The Judge makes this decision only after hearing evidence from the individualís doctor about the mental status of the individual.  If a resident needs legal assistance to set up a guardianship, the Ombudsman may be contacted for referral to an appropriate agency. 

Contact Your Ombudsman

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FOOD QUALITY

Nothing is more important in the life of a nursing home resident than the quality of the food being served. Malnourishment and dehydration pose serious health risks and can often be attributed to food quality and failure by staff to offer hydration.  Three meals and snacks are required by regulations, and the food should be palatable, tasty and smell enticing.  If menus are not consistently followed, and the food quality is poor, the Ombudsman will want to be informed so as to intervene with the Dietary Director or the Administrator.

Contact Your Ombudsman

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TRANSFERS or DISCHARGES

The nursing home regulations are very specific about what constitutes an appropriate reason for discharge.  Sometimes nursing homes will attempt to discharge a resident while not following the regulations.  This is an illegal involuntary discharge.  A resident must receive a 30 day notice of discharge that states where the resident is being discharged, the reason for discharge and the right to appeal the discharge to the Office of Long Term Care and to the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.  If you believe that you have received an illegal notice of discharge, the Ombudsman will help you file an appeal.

Contact Your Ombudsman

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ROOM TEMPERATURE

 

Each resident has different needs regarding the temperature in his/her room.  Regulations state the range of temperature that is acceptable.  The Ombudsman will meet with the Administrator if the temperature falls out of the acceptable range and the resident request intervention.

Contact Your Ombudsman

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SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

Each nursing home is required to have a calendar that states the opportunities for social activities each month.  These activities range from bingo to current events, birthday celebrations, to exercises.  Even bed bound residents are to be included in the activity roster.  If a resident states a concern about the quality or timeliness of activities to the Ombudsman, an informal resolution process will begin with the Activity Director.

Contact Your Ombudsman

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RIGHTS RESTRICTION

Every resident in a nursing home has the same rights of citizens living in the community.  By law a list of those rights are spelled out in the federal regulations.  The Ombudsman is ever alert to identify a right that has been restricted without the consent of the resident.  The Ombudsman will discuss these issues with the Nursing Home Administrator.

 Contact Your Ombudsman

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CARE PLANS

 

The resident care plan is developed with the resident, Nurse, Social Worker, Activity Director, guardians or interested parties with the sole purpose of identifying issues of concern regarding the care that the resident needs in a variety of identified areas, and developing services for dealing with these issues.  The care plan will include who will be responsible and a timetable for implementation of the services. A care plan is required to be completed within seven days after the comprehensive assessment is completed.  Quarterly reviews of care plans are performed, and if a change in condition occurs, a care plan can be held.  Residents or family members should feel free to request the presence of the Ombudsman during a care plan meeting.

Contact Your Ombudsman

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