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Our Mission and History

Our Mission

Promoting the highest possible quality of life and care for all residents in long term care facilities.

Ombudsman are committed to providing compassionate and caring assistance to all residents of long term care facilities. We strive to create a culture of respect for diversity by being conscience and supportive of residents’ spiritual or religious belief systems, sexual orientation, gender expression and identity, race, age, cultural background and ability/disability status.

Program History

During the 1970s, federal and state politicians became aware of care problems in nursing home. Many dedicated volunteers and family members worked to develop the national and state Long Term Care Ombudsman Program to ensure that facility residents receive quality care, their rights are respected, and they are free from abuse.

In San Luis Obispo County, one caring volunteer started our program in 1978. We now have 15 Ombudsman volunteers serving over 3,000 clients.

Since 1978, our volunteers have contributed thousands of hours to improve the quality of life for San Luis Obispo County facility residents.

Affiliations

Funding for Ombudsman Services is provided by the Area Agency on Aging, County of San Luis Obispo, and private donations.

Ombudsman Are Not:

  • Law Enforcement, Licensing or A Regulatory Agent
  • Individuals Who Determine Punishment of the Facilities of Staff
  • Confrontational, Aggressive, Difficult or Dishonest

Common Complaints We Resolve

  • Food quality and temperature problems
  • Abuse of neglect issues
  • Delayed response to resident requests
  • Staff attitudes and rough handling of residents
  • Lost personal items
  • Improper evictions

What Does an Ombudsman Do?

Volunteer and staff Ombudsman are advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes and assisted living facilities. Ombudsman investigate complaints made by or on behalf of care facility residents. Complaints can be made regarding any issue; most involve problems with care or abuse. Unless a resident gives the Ombudsman permission to share his or her concerns, all matters are kept confidential.

Ombudsman regularly make unannounced visits to Skilled Nursing and Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly to ensure that residents are receiving the highest possible quality of life and care. During the visit, the Ombudsman checks for health and safety issues (such as blocked emergency exits and tripping hazards). The Ombudsman will also meet with individual residents to talk about any concerns, problems or complaints. In addition, Ombudsman provide training to facility staff, residents, and family regarding care issues, resident rights, and elder abuse prevention.

Who Can Use Ombudsman Services?

All Ombudsman services are provided free of charge to:

  • Residents of any nursing home or board and care facility, including assisted living facilities
  • A family member or friend of a nursing home resident
  • A nursing home administrator or employee with a concern about a resident at their facility
  • Any individual or citizen’s group interested in the welfare of residents
  • Individuals and families who are considering long-term care placement

What Concerns Does an Ombudsman Address?

Ombudsman regularly advocate for improvements in resident care and work to improve their quality of life. In addition, during conflicts the Ombudsman acts as a neutral third party representing the interests of the care facility resident.