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April 26, 2014

From the Office: Stay active, involved by becoming a long-term care ombudsman


• The right to dignity. Residents of nursing homes are honored guests and have the right to be so treated.

• The right to privacy. Nursing home residents have the right to privacy whenever possible, including the right to privacy with their spouse, the right to have their medical and personal records treated in confidence, and the right to private, uncensored communication.

• The right to personal property. Nursing home residents have the right to possess and use personal property and to manage their financial affairs.

• The right to information. Nursing home residents have the right to information, including the regulations of the home and the costs for services rendered. They also have the right to participate in decisions about any treatment, including the right to refuse treatment.

• The right of freedom. Nursing home residents have the right to be free from mental or physical abuse and from physical or chemical restraint unless ordered by their physician.

• The right to care. Residents have the right to equal care, treatment and services provided by the facility without discrimination.

• The right of residence. Nursing home residents have the right to live at the home unless they violate publicized regulations. They may not be discharged without timely and proper notification to both the resident and the family or guardian.

Who can use an ombudsman’s services?

• Any resident of a nursing home, adult home or assisted living.

• Family members of a resident of the above facilities.

• Administration or staff of the facilities who have a concern regarding one of their residents.

• Any individual or citizen’s group that has a concern about a resident.

Can residents or families talk to an ombudsman in confidence?

Ombudsman are trained to resolve problems. The ombudsman can assist with complaints. However, the ombudsman must be given permission to share concerns; otherwise, these matters are kept confidential. At times, residents and families look to the ombudsman as a resource and then opt to resolve the issue themselves. Other time the ombudsman becomes actively involved, working to resolve the issue to everyone’s satisfaction.

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