What is an “Ombudsman”?
In the state of Florida, a long-term care ombudsman is a trained volunteer who helps to improve the quality of care and quality of life for residents of long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and adult family care homes.
Nearly 60% of long-term care residents in Florida do not receive visits from family members and friends. They may feel alone, isolated and that they have no voice in the daily care they receive. Unfortunately, many of them do not have anyone to look out for their best interests when it comes to their personal rights, health, safety and welfare.
Volunteer ombudsmen are community members, from all walks of life, who are passionate about improving the life for residents living in long-term care facilities. They are trained to work with residents and their family members to communicate concerns and resolve problems by providing advocacy, support, education and empowerment. These volunteers simply want their time and talents to make a difference in improving the lives of people who may be elderly and/or disabled.
We are proud to be a unique program whose success depends on the commitment, courage and compassion of volunteers. Ombudsmen are the heart of our program. These special individuals dedicate thousands of unpaid hours each year to ensuring that the voices of Florida’s long-term care facility residents are heard and problems resolved.
Advocating for Residents’ Rights
Volunteer ombudsmen spend thousands of hours each year in licensed long-term care facilities, working to identify, investigate and resolve the concerns of residents and their loved ones, and performing annual assessments of every facility in Florida.
The program consistently empowers residents to know their rights, and often provides a voice for those who may not be able to speak up for themselves. To view a list of rights granted to each individual in a long-term care facility, please click on the following links:
Responding to Residents’ Concerns
Volunteer ombudsmen are trained in resident’s rights, problem solving, communication, intervention, negotiation skills, and working with long-term care staff. They advocate for improving the quality of life for residents by listening to the concerns of residents and their loved ones and working with them and the long-term care staff to assist in resolving their unmet needs and concerns.
Ombudsmen also receive and investigate complaints on behalf of nursing home residents and their families and serve as a voice for residents in ensuring that the facility meets mandated legal standards for every person receiving long-term care services. Examples of common issues in nursing homes include: discharges and evictions, medication administration and matters of personal hygiene. Common issues in assisted living facilities and adult family-care homes include: menu quality, quantity and variation; medication administration; and general housekeeping or cleanliness.
Ombudsmen work to resolve residents’ concerns, to the best of their abilities and within the greatest extent of the law. All services are provided at no charge, and all complaints are confidential.
History of the Ombudsman Program
Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program was founded in 1975 as a result of the federal Older Americans Act, which grants a special set of residents’ rights to individuals who live in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family care homes. Volunteer ombudsmen seek to ensure the health, safety, welfare and rights of these residents throughout Florida.
The Ombudsman Program operates under the authority of federal and state law. Click HERE to read Florida Statutes regarding the Ombudsman Program.
Apply to Become a Volunteer Ombudsman
Join our team!! You can be trained and certified as a State of Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman and make a difference in the lives of people living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family care homes. In addition, to having the satisfaction of knowing that you are improving the care of long-term care residents, you will have the opportunity to make new friends and increase your understanding of aging and the aging process.
Contacting the Program
If you would like to learn more about the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program or talk with someone about becoming a volunteer, please contact a local ombudsman office in your area. Click HERE to see a list of district offices.
Please contact the ombudsman headquarters office at:
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
- 4040 Esplanade Way, Suite 380
- Tallahassee, FL 32399-7000
- 850-414-2323 or toll-free 1-888-831-0404
- Fax: 850-414-2377
- email: LTCOPInformer@elderaffairs.org
Or click HERE to send us an email.