What is an Ombudsman’s Role in a Nursing Home?

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The South Carolina Long-Term Care Ombudsman investigates more than 8,000 nursing home complaints each year. In a nursing home, it’s the Ombudsman’s role to promote the quality of life of residents. That may mean broad activities like informational outreach. It can also mean helping residents with individual problems, including abuse and neglect.

Greenville nursing home lawyer Robert “Bobby” Jones discusses the role of an Ombudsman in a nursing facility.

What Is an Ombudsman for a Nursing Home?

The Ombudsman’s role in a nursing home is to advocate for patients and respond to reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation. They promote residents’ quality of life. Duties may include resolving complaints, assistance with benefits, and protecting resident dignity and rights.

Services of a Nursing Home Ombudsman

Some of the things a nursing home Ombudsman may do include:

  • Advocate for residents
  • Help residents and their families navigate long-term care
  • Explain the rights and benefits of residents
  • Assist with concerns about care and quality of life
  • Work with residents through appeals and grievance procedures
  • Review a transfer or discharge
  • Educate the community about issues in long-term care

It’s the job of an Ombudsman to help residents and families when it comes to long-term care. They explain rights and help people address specific issues of concern. They also provide outreach and education programs. An Ombudsman may provide services in person, on the phone, virtually, and by email.

An Ombudsman is a person you can reach out to when you suspect abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a nursing home resident. Residents have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. An Ombudsman understands the steps to take and the resources available to ensure that the rights of residents are upheld. Among their duties, they may assist residents in accessing benefits that are relevant to their care.

See South Carolina Department on Aging, Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

How do I ask the South Carolina Long-Term Care Ombudsman for help?

You can contact the South Carolina Long-Term Care Ombudsman by calling 1 (800) 868-9095.

You can also report adult abuse, neglect or exploitation to the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

Does it cost anything to work with a South Carolina Nursing Home Ombudsman?

No. Services of a South Carolina nursing home Ombudsman are provided free of charge.

What is the nursing home Ombudsman’s law in South Carolina?

South Carolina Code Title 43 – Social Services, Chapter 35 – Adult Protection, Article 1 – Duties and Procedures of Investigative Entities, S.C. Code § 43-35-310 is the Omnibus Adult Protection Act.

The United States Older Americans Act of 1965 also applies to long-term care Ombudsman programs.

The South Carolina nursing home Ombudsman’s law seeks to identify roles and responsibilities of involved parties, address needs of vulnerable adults, clarify key terms and procedures, penalize the abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults and provide services in the least restrictive settings.

What to Know About the Ombudsman

The care and wellbeing of people in nursing homes is an important societal goal. The rights of nursing home residents are important. However, lawmakers understand that nursing home residents may need help in enforcing their rights. The Ombudsman’s role is to be a resource and advocate. They understand how to respond to suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation. They can take affirmative steps to assist a resident.

Also, know that there are limitations to what an Ombudsman can do.

They are not your lawyer, and they can’t file a lawsuit for compensation on your behalf. You may have the right to compensation if your rights have been violated, or if you have been the victim of abuse and neglect. A lawyer can represent you to bring a claim.

Talk to a Lawyer About a Nursing Home Patient’s Care

Robert “Bobby” Jones is a Greenville-area lawyer who represents victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation. If you have concerns about the care you or a loved one has received, or if you are wondering about the right to compensation, contact us.

The team at Bobby Jones Law LLC works tirelessly for the injured in South Carolina. His achievements include:
  • More than $60 million collected for our clients
  • Multiple recoveries exceeding $1 million, including an eight-figure settlement
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America
  • Named among the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report
  • Named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers
  • Named to Super Lawyers 2017–2024
  • Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Selected as Legal Elite of the Upstate 2021–2023
We’re humbled to be considered one of the top firms in the Upstate and invite you to learn what sets our award-winning legal services apart. Call or request a consultation online.
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