Published on:

Understanding The Role Of Ombudsmen

nursing home ombudsman program

Illinois Ombudsmen May Be a Neglected Nursing Home Resident’s Only Lifeline

When a resident does not have family or friends who can visit them on a regular basis, Regional Ombudsmen or Ombudsman Volunteers may be the only persons available to help identify a problem, report care concerns, and act as a voice for those who have been neglected, forgotten, or abused. The individuals working through the Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program are also crucial in protecting the rights of residents who are disabled and may have a hard time advocating for themselves. Ombudsmen oversee assigned regions across the state and stay focused on these six main goals.

  1. Advocating to improve the quality of care and quality of life for residents of long-term care facilities in Illinois.
  2. Empowering seniors and adults with disabilities to self-advocate.
  3. Providing information to residents about residents’ rights, long-term care options, supports and services in nursing facilities and in the community.
  4. Investigating complaints and concerns. Ombudsmen will work to resolve complaints to the satisfaction of residents.
  5. Listening in order to understand an issue from the resident’s perspective.
  6. Maintaining confidentiality. Ombudsmen may not discuss or disclose any information without the individual’s permission.

Currently,17 regional long-term care Ombudsmen, dozens of volunteers, and accompanying provider agencies support the state of Illinois and work to uncover the more complex and difficult issues plaguing nursing homes today such as insufficient staffing, medication errors, wrongful eviction, neglect and abuse. Since Ombudsman services are free, current nursing home residents, family members and friends can contact them without a concern of financial stressors. Ombudsman Program contact information is available through the Illinois Department of Aging and categorized by regions and counties served.

Several trained volunteers identified through the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program also serve as advocates to work through common resident complaints related to food, room accommodations, and facility accessibility but are also present to listen to residents while having regular friendly and trusted visits. Ombudsman Program volunteers are especially helpful to residents who may not have family or friends who visit them often as these residents are more likely to be abused and neglected. To learn more about these Ombudsman volunteer opportunities and help advocate for the rights of older adults, call 1-800-252-8966.

Illinois Injury Lawyers Also Help Protect the Rights of Long-Term Care Residents

The Illinois Ombudsman Program was mandated under the Federal Older Americans Act and the Illinois Act on Aging. And while Ombudsmen can play a significant role in advocating for those who are in nursing homes, some situations in violation of those Acts will require the attention of an experienced attorney. The nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti have represented residents who have been abused, injured, or neglected in nursing homes throughout Illinois when an Ombudsman could no longer help. We seek justice and fair compensation.

If you suspect neglect or abuse of a loved one in a nursing home, please contact us now for a FREE consultation with one of our attorneys. Call us toll free at 1-877-374-1417, in Chicago at (312) 332-2872, or complete our online case evaluation form.

Concerned employees can call the nursing home whistleblower hotline at 312-332-2872 or email issues and complaints to: questions@levinperconti.com. All calls and consultations are confidential.

Read also: Illinois Nursing Home Violators Report 2018