Ombudsman Services of Northern California
Ombudsman Services of Northern California is a Project of Legal Services of Northern California. LSNC administers the program through contracts with the Area Agencies on Aging in Public Service Areas 2, 4, and 28. OSNC provides services to more than 28,137 residents in 1,578 long-term care facilities.
Ombudsman advocate in:
- Skilled Nursing Facilities
- Transitional Care Units
- Intermediate Care Facilities
- Residential Care Facilities, (Assisted Living Facilities)
- Adult Residential Care Facilities.
- We assist with issues with Unlicensed Facilities.
Ombudsman representatives promote and protect the rights and the quality of life for long-term care residents, maintaining a presence in long- term care facilities; identifying and receiving complaints; and, by working with state and local agencies to make improvements in long-term care practices, laws, regulations and policies.
Problem solving through facility visiting and complaint investigation
The Ombudsman’s goal in problem solving is to achieve satisfaction for residents. Ombudsman representatives work to build relationships with residents and staff, in order to better understand the resident's problems and to affect quality resolutions.
Real problem solving, in the facility, requires taking the time to understand what factors impact how the staff is working, as well as what the resident is experiencing. Since the Ombudsman’s primary responsibility is problem solving, Ombudsman take time to get to know the resident’s situation, in depth, and to look into creative solutions that are workable for the residents and staff. A solution will work only if it is based on mutual understanding and if it works for all parties. Ombudsman representatives seek to work in such a way that staff understand more of what is at the heart of a resident’s concerns and to find ways to respond to the resident’s needs.
Common problems likely to surface in facilities include:
- Loneliness, the need for someone to talk with
- Boredom: not enough social or personal activities
- Problem with roommate(s)
- Lack of privacy
- Poor food service or quality
- Inability to get services, care
- Inability to live independently coupled with a desire on resident’s part to leave facility
- Misuse of personal funds and personal possessions
- Limited opportunities to go outside the facility for community activities
- Physical and mental abuse
Maintaining a presence in long-term care facilities
Federal and state laws mandate that the long-term care Ombudsman maintains a presence in long term care facilities. This is accomplished through unannounced monitoring visits, according to a facility coverage plan.
Ombudsmen are mandated under State law to serve as witnesses for the execution of Advance Health Care Directives (AHCD) and Transfers of Property in long-term care health facilities. The purpose of the Ombudsman witness is two-fold:
- To be assured that the resident has the capacity to understand the contents of the document;
- To be assured that the resident is signing the document willingly and voluntarily.
Ombudsmen help residents and their families and friends understand and exercise rights guaranteed by law, both federal and state (Resident Right section require further development)
OSNC offers In-service training: to facilities in a variety of topics: Abuse Identification and Reporting, Resident’s Rights, Resident Councils, Family Councils and Advance Health Care Directives.
How to Become a Certified LTC Ombudsman:
What is a long term care (LTC) Ombudsman and why are they needed?
A LTC Ombudsman is a person trained, certified, and authorized by, and serves as a representative of, the California State long-term care Ombudsman to advocate for residents in long term care facilities.
Ombudsmen are needed to assist residents and their families in achieving the highest level of quality of life, which is a right guaranteed to residents by law.
What does an Ombudsman do?
A LTC Ombudsman provides residents with easy access to a personal, on-site advocate who is mandated to work only on behalf of residents.
A LTC Ombudsman:
- Is mandated, under federal and state law, to identify, investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents in Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living facilities.
- Visits their assigned facilities on a regular basis, spend about 20 hours each month working on behalf of residents;
- Strives to get to know the residents and staff;
- Consults with residents and helps residents get answers to their questions or concerns;
- Attend monthly regional meetings
- Keep records, as required, and prepare monthly reports.
We need great volunteers who are dedicated to advocating for the rights of residents in long-term care.
We provide excellent training and ongoing education and support to our ombudsmen.