Ombudsman

The Ombudsman program uses specially trained and certified volunteers (Ombudsmen) to provide advocacy services to residents of long-term care facilities working as a liaison between residents, their families, and/or the facility staff.

An Ombudsman:

  1. Provides information to residents, staff, and family members about resident’s rights, nursing facility rules and regulation, and helps identify resources in or out of the facility.
  2. Identifies, investigates, and resolves complaints by or on behalf of residents.
  3. Supports residents, families, and staff to resolve any problems or differences with the facility staff by defining concerns, explaining rights and identifying possible courses of action.
  4. Provides information about selecting a long-term care facility, eligibility criteria, and other services for older persons.

When should you contact an Ombudsman?

Residents and family should attempt to resolve issues directly with the facility staff whenever possible. If the situation has not been resolved, or if an attempt has been unsuccessful, the resident or family is encouraged to call an ombudsman for guidance.

The Ombudsman will assess the issue and recommend possible courses of action. Often the problem can be resolved without involving other groups or agencies. Sometimes the care planning process, resident council or family council is involved in the resolution.

If the Ombudsman cannot resolve the problem, or when it involves serious abuse or neglect, the complaint is referred to either the Texas Department of Aging and Disability –Regulatory Services and/or Adult Protective Services.

In all situations, the complaint is handled confidentially and information is not released without approval from the resident or legal guardian.

To contact an Ombudsman for facilities in Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, Nueces, San Patricio and Refugio counties, call (361)883-3935 or 1-800-817-5743.

Links:

· Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman
· Statement of Residents’ Rights

Additional Resources

Texas Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
1-800-252-2412 (State Ombudsman Hotline)
www.dads.state.tx.us/news_info/ombudsman
mail@dads.state.tx.us

Texas Attorney General
1-800-252-8011 (Medicaid Fraud Control)

Texas Department of Aging and Disability – Regulatory Services
1-800-458-9858 (Complaint Investigations)
1-800-252-8016 (Consumer Services)

Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services
1-800-252-5400 (Adult Abuse, Neglect, and Financial Exploitation in the community)

Volunteer Opportunities

In search of persons who would like to become volunteer Ombudsmen to advocate for the residents in the nursing homes & Assisted Living Facilities of the Coastal Bend Region, which includes the following counties: Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak,Nueces, Refugio, and San Patricio.

Volunteers agree to donate at least two hours per week visiting nursing homes and/or assisted living facilities. While in the nursing home, and/or assisted living facilities the volunteer will talk with residents, family members, and staff to identify any complaints or problem areas. Volunteers also provide information about rights and procedures and help identify additional resources in or out of the facility. Our goal is to achieve the best possible quality of life for residents in long-term care facilities. No experience is needed; Training is provided by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

Additional Volunteer Opportunities

General office assistance can answer telephone calls, do filing, complete mail-out, make bulk copies, and assist with data entry.

For volunteer opportunities contact us.