Long-Term Care Ombudsman


Background and Authority


What does the Long-Term Care Ombudsman do?


Investigates and works to resolve problems or complaints affecting long-term care residents.

•  Identifies problem areas in long-term care and advocates for change.

•  Provides information about long-term care and related services.

•  Ensures that residents are receiving the legal, financial, social, rehabilitative, and other services to which they are entitled.

•  Acts as a mediator between residents, family members, and facility staff.

•  Educates the residents, family, facility staff, and community about resident’s rights, elder abuse, neglect,     financial exploitation, and discharge issues.

•  Coordinates efforts with other agencies concerned with long-term care.

•  Visits long-term care facilities routinely to talk to residents and monitor conditions.

•  Assists with the establishment of resident and family councils at facilities.

•  Represents resident’s interests before state and federal government by working to change laws, regulations,     and policies that affect those who live in long-term care facilities.


What types of issues does an Ombudsman handle?


•  Rights of long-term care residents.

•  Care provided in long-term care facilities.

•  Transfers and discharges from long-term care facilities

•  Complaints may be about the facility, its employees, providers, public or private agencies, guardian, or anyone who is in a position to threaten or interfere with the rights, health, safety, or welfare of a resident.


Who Can Use the Ombudsman?

Anyone can use the Ombudsman, including residents or employees of long-term care facilities, or their friends or families.


How do I file a concern or a complaint?

You may file a complaint in writing, by phone, or in person by contacting the community ombudsman at your local Area Agency on Aging Office.


Do I have to give my name?

No, however it is better if the ombudsman is able to contact you for more information. Everything is kept confidential unless the complainant or the resident gives permission.


Is there a charge for the services?

There is no charge for services provided by the ombudsman program.


What can be investigated?

Complaints may be about the facility, its employees, providers, public or private agencies, guardian, or anyone who is in a position to threaten or interfere with the rights, health, safety, or welfare of a resident.


Each of the 13 Area Agencies on Aging offices in Alabama contracts for ombudsman services, providing a full-time ombudsman who is trained and certified by the State Ombudsman. To contact your local ombudsman or State Ombudsman, you may call 1-800-AGE-LINE (243-5463) or visit www.AlabamaAgeline.gov.


Nursing Home Complaint Hotline: 1-800-356-9596


Assisted Living Complaint Hotline: 1-866-873-0366


Department of Human Resources of Elder Abuse Hotline: 1-800-458-7214


Federal Law


Section 712 of the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended, requires each State Agency on Aging, in its State Plan, to provide assurances that it will carry out its statutory responsibilities under this Section. Although the statute permits certain contractor organizations and other agencies to perform specific aspects of the long-term care ombudsman program, the State Agency on Aging remains responsible for the performance of activities under Section 712 of the Act. (Appendix A includes Section 712 of the Older Americans Act.)


State Law


Alabama Act 85-657, the Long-term Residential Health Care Recipient Ombudsman Act of 1985, authorizes the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman and the Alabama Department of Senior Services to investigate complaints concerning health care and other providers and institutions that threatens patients or residents of health care, domiciliary, and residential facilities. The Act further requires the appointment, training and certification of at least one community ombudsman by each Area Agency on Aging. (Appendix B includes Alabama Act 85-657)




The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care    www.theconsumervoice.org


Medicare.gov-the Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare     www.medicare.gov


Administration for Community Living     www.acl.gov


National Council for Aging Care     www.aging.com


Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)     www.adph.org


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)     https://www.cms.gov


Alabama Medicaid Agency     http://medicaid.alabama.gov


Pioneer Network:  Culture Change in Long-Term Care     www.pioneernetwork.net


The Center for Social Gerontology     www.tcsg.org


 Assisted Living Association of Alabama     www.alaaweb.org


Alabama Department of Human Resources     www.dhr.alabama.gov


Alabama Nursing Home Association    www.anha.org


Alabama Family Trust     www.alabamafamilytrust.com


Nurse Aide Registry:  http://ph.state.al.us/nar/foun2.asp


 To Contact Your Local Area Agency On Aging, Please Call:

1-800-AGELINE (1-800-243-5463)





Long-Term Care