Napa Long-Term Care Ombudsman
The State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is authorized by the federal Older Americans Act, which requires every state Office on Aging to create a statewide ombudsman program to "investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of older individuals who are residents of long term care facilities." Most local ombudsman programs operate within an Area Agency on Aging. Some are located in other community organizations.
Ombudsmen may enter a facility at any time when necessary to advocate on behalf of a resident in need of assistance. While ombudsmen do not have direct authority to require action by a facility, they have the responsibility to negotiate on a resident's behalf and to work with other state agencies for effective enforcement.
An effective ombudsman should know of any community groups and activities available to improve life and care for residential care residents. Some offer advice about how to select a facility or help people find the services they need in the community instead of entering a facility. They should also have information about current legislative and regulatory efforts in the state. And they can often direct residents to a local legal services program if they need legal assistance. State ombudsman programs publish annual reports about the problems and concerns they address.
Many ombudsman programs have limited staff resources. For this reason, most local programs seek volunteer who can be trained to help visit residents, act as advocates, and monitor general facility conditions. It is important to learn about, understand and support local and state ombudsman programs so they can maintain an effective advocacy program for residents and their representatives.
State Long-Term Care Ombudsman
California Department of Aging
1600 K Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
CA Advocates for NH Reform
1610 Bush Street
San Francisco, CA 94109