Local Attorneys. Real Results

Using the New York state long-term care ombudsman

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | Nursing Home Abuse

Most New Yorkers have probably never heard of the state long-term care ombudsman. This position was created in response to a command to each state in the federal Older Americans Act to provide protection for people confined to nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and the like.

Knowledge of the ombudsman’s existence and duties can save families much stress and anxiety if the office is promptly contacted after family members suspect that their loved one has been abused or neglected by the staff of the care facility.

What does the ombudsman do?

The Older Americans Act mandates that every state create a long-term care ombudsman program. These programs rely on both professional and volunteer members to provide services. The ombudsman office is responsible for dealing with complaints about the quality of care provided in a long-term care facility.

The staff is responsible for providing information on facilities that offer quality long-term care for patients and for assisting in the transfer of patients to those facilities.

How does an ombudsman define abuse?

The ombudsman’s office deals primarily with alleged violations of a resident’s rights or dignity, physical, verbal or mental abuse, deprivation of services or poor quality of services, unreasonable confinement, improper transfer or discharge of a patient, and inappropriate use of chemical or physical restraints.

Rights of patients

The National Long-Term Care Resource Center has enumerated the basic rights of long-term care residents:

  • Citizenship, including the right to vote
  • Individual dignity, including dignified treatment of a patient’s guests
  • Privacy
  • Use and possession of personal property
  • Access to information about the facility
  • Freedom from mental or physical abuse
  • Adequate care and treatment
  • Live in the facility
  • Free expression, including complaints about the facility

Anyone who is concerned about the treatment of a loved one in a nursing home or other long-term care facility should contact the state ombudsman’s office as soon as possible.