The federal Older Americans Act provides funding to states to fulfill the goals of the Act, namely the protection of the vulnerable elderly population. To receive federal funds, states must comply with a variety of statutory requirements, including the formation of an office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
Under federal law, the designated state ombudsman may designate a local ombudsman office to provide services to protect the health, safety, and welfare of long-term care residents. It is the job of the local ombudsman to “identify, investigate, and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents that relate to action, inaction, or decisions, that may adversely affect the health, safety, welfare, or rights of the residents.” (42 U.S.C. §3058g(a)(5)(B)(iii).)
Generally, any concerns about resident rights issues, physical abuse or neglect, transfer and discharge issues, or any other unexpected injury, illness, infection or death should be reported to your local ombudsman office. Reports of elder abuse or neglect are confidential, and will not be revealed in any legal actions that might arise from the complaints.
Remember, residents have rights, including the right to be treated with respect and dignity, the right to be free from chemical and physical restraint, and the right to voice grievances without fear of retaliation.
People with questions about nursing home elder abuse or neglect, or who desire more information about the complaint process, should contact Walton Law Firm at (760) 607-1325. All consultations are free and confidential.