General Contact Number: (530) 621-5567

Senior Services

LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN
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An ombudsman is a specially trained and state-certified advocate who has authority under California law to identify, investigate and resolve complaints made by, or on behalf of, long-term care (LTC) facility residents. The heart of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is the team of certified Ombudsmen who are empowered to resolve issues surrounding the care and quality of life for people living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Ombudsmen are there to represent the residents’ interests. It is the residents’ desires and needs that are considered and acted upon. Each assisted living facility and nursing home in our community has an assigned ombudsman who visits regularly to meet with residents, monitor conditions, and listen to concerns.

Being an Ombudsman is an important responsibility that is taken on with great care and professionalism. In California, Ombudsmen are certified only after receiving extensive training. The Ombudsman Program is here to provide information, guidance, and advocacy. 

Our services are free and confidential. We can help. For more information or assistance contact us at (530) 621-6271. For assistance after hours, weekends, and holidays, please contact the Statewide CRISISline at (800) 231-4024.

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What Does an Ombudsman Do?

  • Investigates and works to resolve problems or complaints affecting long-term care facility residents. Identifies problem areas in long-term care and advocates for change. 
  • Provides information about long-term care and related services. 
  • Promotes resident, family and community involvement in long-term care. 
  • Educates the community about the needs of long-term care residents. 
  • Coordinates efforts with other agencies concerned with long-term care. 
  • Visits long-term care facilities routinely to talk to residents and monitor conditions. 
  • Educates facility staff about resident rights and other issues.

  • The Long-Term Ombudsman is a free, confidential resident advocate for every person living in an assisted living and nursing home.
  • The resident's desires and choices are most important to an Ombudsman.
  • The Ombudsman can give you information about the homes before you make your choice.

Resident Rights
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Just because someone moves into a nursing home or assisted living facility does not mean that they give up their rights. In fact, federal and state laws guarantee additional rights specific to nursing home residents and state law protects rights specific to assisted living facility residents. Resident Rights cover all aspects of your stay: from admission, to living in the facility, and discharge.


Resident Rights Put You in Charge

Residents' rights have a significant impact. When residents are fully informed, treated with dignity and respect, and given the right to make their own choices, it greatly enhances their quality of life and quality of care. Knowing and advocating for your rights is critical to a successful stay in a long-term care facility. You, your representative, or a legally appointed conservator can exercise your rights. Ombudsmen help residents and their families and friends understand and exercise their rights. Long-term care facilities are required to inform residents of these rights and protect and promote their rights.

If you live in a nursing facility or assisted living home licensed by the state of California, you have the same rights you would have living in your own home. 

For a detailed listing of residents' rights, see the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) Fact Sheets, Nursing Home Residents' Rights and Outline of Resident Rights, Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly.

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Planning a visit with a loved one

It's not uncommon to struggle with what to say or what to do when visiting a resident in a nursing home. Feelings of guilt, sadness, and grief can be common. Remember to keep the focus on the person you are visiting.

  • Don't ask too many "yes" or "no" questions. Instead, reminisce about good memories or tell stories about what's going on in your life and with other family members.
  • Don't try to make them remember something. If they don't recall an event or person, it's OK. Move on to something else.
  • Let go of the urge to correct. An underlying medical condition, such as dementia, may cause them to say things that seem irrational. It's more important to focus on listening and spending time together.
  • Bring things to do together. This can help you avoid feeling pressured to keep a conversation going.
  • Don't make a big production about leaving. This can cause unneeded anxiety and negative feelings. 


Get to Know the Staff
It is important to be familiar with staff members. Know their names, their roles, and responsibilities related to resident care. Some of the key staff: Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), Registered Nurses, Director of Nursing, Director of Social Services, Director of Dietary Services, and the Administrator. It is most important to develop a relationship with the CNAs because they are responsible for the direct hands-on work with residents.


Family Advocacy Strategies

Being an advocate means knowing the importance of and participating in the assessment and care plan process; knowing the staff and what care they provide; monitoring care during regular visits; and raising any concerns with staff, or if necessary, the ombudsman or regulatory agency. You are the primary advocate for your loved one.


Keep Track of Personal Items

To prevent nursing home theft, it is critical to complete a thorough inventory of belongings brought to the facility. Remember that many people may be in and out of the resident's room daily, including facility staff, visitors, and other residents. At some point, items may go missing. Hopefully they have just been misplaced and will be returned, but, for this reason, do not bring anything of value.

  • Mark all personal items, including watches, dentures, eyeglasses, and hearing aids;
  • Take pictures of valuables;
  • Keep copies of all receipts for any items taken into the facility, if possible;
  • Use locks for clothing drawers/cabinets, where only the resident/representative and the administrator have a key.

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You Can Volunteer!

Are you interested in using your time and talents to serve as an advocate for nursing home and assisted living facility residents? The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is looking for volunteers to serve as certified Ombudsmen to improve the quality of care and quality of life for residents living in long-term care facilities throughout El Dorado County. Volunteers serve as a voice for residents of long-term care facilities. Certified Ombudsmen are indispensable in ensuring that all facilities meet mandated, legal standards for every person requiring long-term care. To volunteer for the Ombudsman Program, please download Volunteer Application Form.
        

 For details about the program, please download:    
image of Download Now  Long Term Care Ombudsman Brochure  


For a list of El Dorado County RCFE and Skilled Nursing facilities, please download:
image of Download Now Facility List

 

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