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The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program assists residents of licensed long-term care facilities in protecting their health, safety, welfare and rights.
In Colorado, long-term care ombudsmen are advocates for residents of nursing homes, assisted living residences and similar licensed adult long-term care facilities. They work to resolve individual resident issues and to bring about changes at the local, state and national level to improve long-term care. While most residents receive good care in long-term care facilities, far too many are neglected and others are victims of psychological, physical and other kinds of abuse. Trained ombudsmen, paid and volunteer, regularly visit long-term care facilities, monitor conditions and care, and provide a voice for those unable to speak for themselves.
Each Ombudsman Program throughout the state is required to visit each nursing home in their area at least once per month. Assisted living residences in their area must be visited at least once per quarter. Licensed facilities are required to allow ombudsmen to enter the facility and visit with residents without interference from facility staff. Routine visits involve a general overview of the facility to ensure that common areas are clean, required notices are posted, and meals and activities are being provided as posted, among other requirements.
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman receives complaints from residents, family members and others and, with the resident's consent, investigates the complaints. Complaints range from simple quality of care issues, such as a resident's preferred time for breakfast, to very serious, sometimes life-threatening concerns involving abuse and neglect. When necessary, the ombudsman will work cooperatively with other agencies such as the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, local law enforcement and Adult Protective Services to resolve concerns identified during a complaint investigation.
Local ombudsmen can assist prospective residents in locating a facility that best meets their needs.
The ombudsman is able to provide guidance to residents, family members or friends who would like to resolve an issue without ombudsman intervention.
Other services include attending family and resident council meetings at a licensed facility, providing community education, and providing training to facility staff and other professional agencies that work with at-risk adults and residents of long-term care facilities.
Every licensed long-term care facility is required to display a poster with the facility's assigned ombudsman's name and contact information. If you are a resident or family member of a resident in a facility, call the ombudsman listed on the poster.
You may also contact your local Area Agency on Aging and ask to speak with a long-term care ombudsman.
Colorado Long-Term Care Ombudsman and Legal Assistance Developer Programs 2015 Annual Report