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Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

 

HOW DOES THE OMBUDSMAN HELP NURSING HOME RESIDENTS?

 

When residents of long-term care facilities and families cannot resolve their problems through consultation with the facility staff or governmental agencies involved, they should contact their District Ombudsman. The Ombudsman works with many agencies and may be able to help resolve questions or concerns that involve state and federal agencies administering services to the elderly.

 

Concerns can include quality of care, financial information, resident rights, admissions, transfer, and discharge. Also included are questions regarding nursing homes, homes for the aged, assisted care living facilities, Medicaid and Medicare.

The Ombudsman takes time to listen to the concerns of the resident. Residents can share concerns about their situations or other personal concerns. *The Ombudsman will keep these matters confidential. The Ombudsman will assist in trying to resolve concerns and problems and can also explain resident rights and responsibilities.

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WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR OMBUDSMAN ASSISTANCE?

 

Any resident of a long-term care facility such as nursing homes, homes for the aged, assisted care living facilities, is eligible to request assistance from the Ombudsman. Families of residents may also contact the Ombudsman office on behalf of the resident. 

To be assisted by the First District Ombudsman, residents must be in a facility in Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi or Washington counties. Residents in other Tennessee counties must contact the Ombudsman in their district. If you need to locate your local Ombudsman, CLICK HERE.

 

There are no age or financial restrictions for those contacting the Ombudsman.

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WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AS A NURSING HOME RESIDENT?

 

  • A safe and clean living environment

  • Privacy

  • Information

  • Exercise civil rights

  • Participate in or refuse treatment

  • Voice grievances without retaliation

  • Manage personal finances

  • Adequate and appropriate medical and nursing care

  • Be free of physical and chemical restraints

  • Take part in community activities

  • Be treated with courtesy and respect

  • Private visits and unrestricted communications

  • Not to be transferred or discharged from the home

  • Be free from physical, verbal, mental, and emotional abuse

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HOW DO I FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE OMBUDSMAN?

 

If you have a concern or question in regard to a resident of a long-term care facility that cannot be resolved through a discussion with the facility staff or administrators, contact the First District Long-Term Care Ombudsman at:

First District Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Karrie Erick

3211 N. Roan St.

Johnson City, TN 37601

423-979-2599

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HOW THE OMBUDSMAN CAN HELP THE FAMILY OR FRIENDS OF A RESIDENT

 

  • Provide information regarding the admission process to nursing homes, assisted care living facilities and homes for the aged

  • Help clarify nursing home, assisted care living facility, or home for the aged regulations that apply to your situation

  • Make helpful referrals to other agencies

  • Help find solutions to small problems before they get too big

  • Promote healthy and realistic attitudes of residents and families toward nursing homes

  • Respect requests for anonymity

  • Act as a resource for staff training needs

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CAN I VOLUNTEER WITH THE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM?

 

The Ombudsman Program needs volunteers to help advocate for the rights of residents living in long-term care facilities. Many of these residents have no one to speak up for them or look out for them, making this population the most vulnerable in our society. Trained Volunteer Ombudsman Representatives (VORs) of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program visit residents in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities and establish a regular presence in the facility. They investigate and mediate complaints, monitor residents’ care and quality of life, and provide information to residents and family members about residents’ rights and good care practices. VORs experience the profound satisfaction that comes with successfully advocating for solutions to residents’ problems. CLICK HERE to see the VOR Job Description.

VORs must be at least 21 years old, have access to reliable transportation, have access to a computer, and possess genuine care and concern for older and disabled adults. VORs must not have an unremedied conflict of interest.
CLICK HERE to see the Conflict of Interest Screening Questionnaire.

VORs must complete a minimum of 36 hours of initial certification training that includes 16-20 hours of classroom training, at least 10 hours of field training, and 7 hours of independent study. Additionally, VORs must complete 18 hours of continuing education training each year. A one-year commitment is desired, during which time volunteers spend 2 or more hours each month with residents at their assigned facility.

The most important requirements for VORs are compassion, respect for older and disabled persons, and common sense. A positive attitude, ability to communicate effectively, and available time are important. Ombudsman programs provide training and supervision in developing specific skills. Through this volunteer experience, VORs can expect to develop skills in communication, listening, relationship building, confidentiality, complaint resolution, and residents' rights.

By becoming a Volunteer Ombudsman Representative (VOR), you can change the lives of people who live in long-term care facilities.

If you would like to volunteer with the First District Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program or have questions, please contact:

First District Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Karrie Erick

3211 N. Roan St.

Johnson City, TN 37601

423-979-2599

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Can I volunteer
Help for family or friends
File a complaint
Who is eligible
How does ombudsman help
My rights
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