Ombudsman Program provides advocacy services to residents aged 60 and older residing in nursing homes, community based residential facilities, and participants of the Community Options Program.
The word, "Ombudsman" (om-budz-man), is Scandinavian. In this country the word has come to mean an advocate or helper. An ombudsman protects and promotes the rights of long term care consumers, working with consumers and their families to achieve quality care and quality of life. Mandated by Congress through the Older Americans Act, in Wisconsin the Board on Aging and Long Term Care operates the program statewide. Long term care consumers have an undeniable right to express concerns without fear of retaliation or reprisal.
The Board on Aging and Long Term Care provides service to persons age 60 and older who are consumers of Wisconsin long term care programs. The Ombudsman Program has, by statute, authority to obtain access to all residents and tenants of Wisconsin nursing homes, Community Based Residential Facilities (CBRF's), Residential Care Apartment Complexes (RCAC's), and persons served by the Community Options Program and Family Care/Partnership programs.
Fifteen 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.