What is an “Ombudsman”?
In the state of Florida, a long-term care ombudsman is a volunteer who helps to improve the lives of people who live in long-term care settings like nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family care homes.
As members of Florida’s elder population make the transition into long-term care facilities, a strong support system for each individual becomes critical. Unfortunately, many long-term care residents do not have anyone to look out for their best interests when it comes to personal health, safety, welfare and rights.
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is made up of more than 300 volunteers who are passionate about improving the quality of life for residents. It takes a special kind of person to commit to such a mission. We are proud to be a unique program whose success depends on the boldness and compassion of volunteers. These special individuals dedicate thousands of unpaid hours each year to ensuring that the voices of Florida’s long-term care facility residents are heard.
Advocating for Residents' Rights
Volunteer ombudsmen spend thousands of hours each year in licensed long-term care facilities, working to identify, investigate and resolve the concerns of residents and their loved ones, and performing annual assessments of every facility in Florida.
The program consistently empowers residents to know their rights, and often provides a voice for those who may not be able to speak up for themselves. To view a list of rights granted to each individual in a long-term care facility, please click on the following links:
Bill of Rights for residents of assisted living facilities and adult family care homes
Bill of Rights for residents of nursing homes
Responding to Residents' Concerns
Ombudsmen personally visit the residents in their facilities to look into their concerns and provide empowerment and assistance in resolving them. Examples of common issues in nursing homes include: discharges and evictions, medication administration and matters of personal hygiene. Common issues in assisted living facilities and adult family-care homes include: menu quality, quantity and variation; medication administration; and general housekeeping or cleanliness.
Ombudsmen work to resolve residents' concerns, to the best of their abilities and within the greatest extent of the law. All services are provided at no charge, and all complaints are confidential.
History of the Ombudsman Program
Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program was founded in 1975 as a result of the federal Older Americans Act, which grants a special set of residents' rights to individuals who live in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family care homes. Volunteer ombudsmen seek to ensure the health, safety, welfare and rights of these residents throughout Florida.
The Ombudsman Program operates under the authority of federal and state law. Click HERE
to read the 2010 state statutes regarding the Ombudsman Program.
Contacting the Program
If you would like to learn more about the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program or talk with someone about becoming a volunteer, please contact a local ombudsman office in your area. Click HERE
to see a list of district offices.
Please contact the ombudsman headquarters office at:
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
4040 Esplanade Way, Suite 280
Tallahassee, FL 32399-7000
850-414-2323 or toll-free 1-888-831-0404
Or click HERE
to send us an email.