The word, "Ombudsman" (om-budz-man), is Scandinavian. In this country the word has come to mean an advocate or helper. A long term care ombudsman protects and promotes the rights of long term care consumers, working with the consumers and their families to achieve their expected quality of care and quality of life. The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program was mandated by Congress through the Older Americans Act and, in Wisconsin, the Board on Aging and Long Term Care operates the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program statewide. Long term care consumers have an undeniable right to express any complaints or concerns about their care or treatment to an Ombudsman without fear of retaliation or reprisal.
The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program provides advocacy services to persons age 60 and older who are consumers of Wisconsin long term care programs. The Ombudsman Program has, by law, the authority to have contact with any resident or tenant of a Wisconsin nursing home, Community Based Residential Facility (CBRF), Residential Care Apartment Complex (RCAC), Adult Family Home (AFH), or person served by the community Options Program or the Family Care /Partnership/ PACE program.
Nineteen dedicated and skilled Ombudsmen serve residents of all of Wisconsin's 72 counties. Services are available at no charge, and all complaints are kept confidential, as per the direction of the individual voicing the concern.
The services an Ombudsman offers are many and varied. Some of the services included are:
- Complaint investigation (complaint form) regarding long-term care services
- Resolve and mediate issues regarding long-term care services
- Provide information and education on resident rights, restraints, and abuse reporting and prevention
- Work with Community Options Program (COP) participants
- Work with Family Care/Partnership members
- Assist with Choosing a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility
- Work with enforcement agencies
The Ombudsman Program has offices located throughout the state. Your regional Ombudsman can be reached by calling our confidential, toll-free line at 1-800-815-0015.