What is an Ombudsman?
An Ombudsman is an advocate for resident’s rights and is responsible for investigation complaints made by, or on behalf of, nursing and adult care home residents. Ombudsmen work with residents, family members, concerned citizens, facilities, as well as public and private agencies to enhance the quality of care and quality of life for residents in long-term care facilities.
The North Carolina Ombudsman Program, as established by the Older American’s Act, consists of individuals at the state and local levels. The Regional Long-term Care Ombudsman is located at the Albemarle Commission Area Agency on Aging.
What does an Ombudsman do?
- Advocates for Resident’s when their legal rights have been violated or they are not receiving proper care or assistance
- Investigates Concerns from the residents of nursing and adult care homes, or from others on their behalf, as they relate to resident’s rights, services, and benefits. Complaints may be against facilities, government agencies, programs, or other services providers.
- Mediates Disputes between long term care residents and facilities as well as private and government agencies on behalf of the residents.
- Provides Technical Assistance to residents, families, and staff in areas including: care planning, family and resident councils, resident transfer and discharge, ling term care placement, etc.
- Promotes Elder Abuse Awareness within communities.
- Monitors long term care facilities
- Educates the public on long term care issues and promotes increased community involvement in long term care facilities.
What Are Community Advisory Committees?
Community Advisory Committee members for Nursing Homes and Adult Care Homes are trained volunteers. They are local citizens appointed by their county Boards of Commissioners. These committees were established by the North Carolina State Legislature (G.S. 131D-31 and G.S. 131E-128) to be volunteer, grassroots advocates for residents in long-term care facilities. The committees cover Nursing Homes, Adult Care Homes, and Family Care Homes within their county. CAC members are trained by the Ombudsman. Advisory Committee Members are required by North Carolina General Statutes to complete 15 hours of initial orientation and training prior to exercising any power under G.S. 131D-32. CAC members spend an average of 10 hours per month fulfilling their primary responsibilities i.e., visiting long term care facilities and completion of quarterly visitation worksheets. Additionally, attendance is required at quarterly committee meetings.
Appointees must be 18 years or older and must reside in the county that they serve. They cannot have an immediate family member residing in or employed by the type of home that their committee covers, nor can they have a financial interest in a long-term care facility. If you are interested in serving on the Community Advisory Committee in your county, please contact the Ombudsman at 426-5753 ext 225. You may also apply by filling out an application with the County, which is located on each county’s website.
Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare– This link allows individuals and families the option of looking at nursing homes in their area, comparing them side by side, and view how they rate in terms of health inspections, staff, and quality measures. It also lets you review the facility’s penalties within the last 3 years, what types of insurance coverage is accepted and their bed capacity.
DHSR Adult Care Licensure Section – Facility Inspection, Ratings and Penalties. This link lists the star rating for the facility, dates of inspections, deficiencies and penalties and provides facility information, including bed capacity.
Contact the Ombudsman
Brandi Jordan, MSW
512 South Church Street
Hertford, NC 27944
(252) 426-5753 ext. 225