The Ombudsman Program
The Ombudsman Program serves to advocate on behalf of long- term care facility residents to uphold residents' rights and to address quality of care and quality of life issues.
In North Carolina, every Area Agency on Aging has an Ombudsman on staff.
List of all Regional Ombudsmen With Contact Information
The state of North Carolina, within the Division of Aging and Adult Services, has an Ombudsman as well. The state Ombudsman oversees all Ombudsman related activities statewide.
|Sharon Wilder||State Long Term Care Ombudsman|
|Kathryn Lanier||Ombudsman Program Specialist|
|Denise Rogers||Ombudsman/Elder Rights Specialist|
NC Division of Aging and Adult
The Ombudsman Program also has another feature that helps to expand what can be offered - the Community Advisory Committees. The Community Advisory Committees (CACs) were established by the NC State Legislature. Their mandate is to:
- work to maintain the Residents’ Bill of Rights
- promote community involvement and cooperation to ensure quality care
Most counties have a committee specific to nursing homes and one for adult care homes (assisted living facilities). Some counties have joint committees that visit both types of homes. Members are appointed by their local Board of County Commissioners to serve as volunteer, grassroots ombudsmen. Committee members receive training and technical assistance from the regional Ombudsmen.
Member responsibilities include:
- quarterly visits to each nursing home and adult care home (excluding family care homes)
- annual visits to each family care home
- working to assure Resident Rights are respected
- observing the general conditions under which residents are residing
- ensuring the confidentiality of the residents and their families
- promoting community awareness of the needs of those in long-term care facilities
- completing quarterly visit reports for official quarterly visits
The committees meet regularly to discuss their visits to the homes and complete quarterly visit reports upon completion of the official quarterly visits. These visit reports are public record and describe the general conditions under which residents are residing, the types of activities provided in facilities, and any concerns or grievances noted during the visit.
Your county Ombudsman program may offer the minutes and/or quarterly visit reports online. Check with your local program (contact information above). The NC Division of Health Services Regulations offers information on the facilities that they monitor (adult care homes, nursing homes, hospice facilities, hospitals, etc.).
All Ombudsmen Services are free and confidential.