Ombudsman (om-budz-man) is a Swedish word meaning “one who speaks on behalf of another.” Ombudsmen protect the rights of people living in nursing homes and assisted living residences.
NEW ITEM POSTED: October 25, 2017
Check out this video submission for the Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care Resident Rights Month contest. The theme this year is “It’s All About Me”. This video came from the Area Agency on Aging in Boulder County.
LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM
What You Must Know
Colorado Ombudsman Program
Colorado has 51 full- and part-time (approximately 39 full-time equivalent) staff ombudsmen across Colorado. They are joined by 22 volunteer ombudsmen who gave 2,918 hours in 2016. These 73 ombudsmen are fully certified.
To attain certification, the ombudsmen must complete an orientation within their local region designed to help build familiarity with the facilities, residents and staff, the regulations and the regulatory system. They must also complete 15 hours of continuing education each year.
Why Are Ombudsmen Needed?
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. Licensed facilities are required to allow ombudsmen to enter the facility and visit with residents, without interference from facility staff.
What Do Ombudsmen Do?
The role of the ombudsman is to act as an advocate for the resident and assist the resident in resolving issues related to care, health, safety, or the resident’s rights.
Ombudsmen strive to resolve complaints that 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. Other services include:
- Attending family and resident council meetings at a licensed facility
- Providing community education
- Providing training to facility staff
- Providing training to other professional agencies that work with at-risk adults and residents of long-term care facilities
The State PACE Ombudsman
The State PACE (Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) Ombudsman program was established in 2016 to protect the rights of applicants, participants and those dis-enrolled from services throughout all the PACE organizations in Colorado. The program offers free independent advocacy to navigate the service delivery system within the PACE program, including: access to services; transitions of care; denial of services; grievance and appeals; and timeliness of service delivery. The program serves vulnerable adults 55 and older who live in their own homes, nursing homes or assisted living residences.
Who is Colorado’s State PACE Ombudsman?
Colorado’s State PACE (Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) Ombudsman is Leah McMahon. Her office is located in Denver at Disability Law Colorado, the nonprofit who administers Colorado’s Older Americans Act programs. firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the PACE footprint of work?
The PACE Ombudsman program served over 500 people in 2017 including vulnerable adults enrolled in PACE, family members, community professionals and PACE employees. The PACE Ombudsman program strives to positively impact service delivery systems and quality of care throughout the 10 PACE service centers in Colorado.
What are the Top Five Service Issues?
Colorado’s State PACE Ombudsmen investigate complaints which are identified through interviews with participants, family members, community professionals and PACE staff. The top five service issues in 2017 included: concerns about quality of care; autonomy and choice within the program; access to information regarding how to navigate services; the dis-enrollment process; and staff not responding to requests.
Photo: L to R: Vera Cunningham aged 102, Washington County Commissioner David Foy, and Joe Thereur breaking ground on the Green House Project in Akron, CO.
Ombudsmen In Action
How do ombudsmen help seniors? Read the story Preserving An Elder's Freedom about one long-term care resident who was falsely admitted to a long-term care facility by his wife under false pretenses.
Your State OfficeColorado Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program 455 Sherman Street, Suite 130 Denver, CO 80203 Phone: 303.722.0300
See a map of Colorado Agencies on Aging for your local Ombudsman contacts. In the event of a life or limb threatening emergency call 911. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is not authorized as an emergency service or law enforcement. Please contact us if you have a case of abuse or neglect to report.
Read our Colorado Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Annual Reports to learn more about the program: