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How can an ombudsman stop nursing home neglect?

Nursing home neglect and abuse is a serious problem in many of the nation's nursing homes and assisted living centers. Our seniors should never have to deal with neglect and abuse on any level. If it does occur, though, who can help?

One person who can help is an ombudsman. This is a Swedish term meaning "citizen representative." Long-term Care Ombudsman programs provide assistance and advocacy to those in long-term care facilities. The main duty of an ombudsman is to ensure the rights of residents are protected. They not only can help with neglect and abuse issues by investigating and getting help for the victim, but they can help with other concerns as well, such as:

-- Resolving complaints

-- Locating a facility

-- Getting quality care

-- Provides information to families on a resident's rights

-- Promotes community involvement

-- Promotes the development of resident councils, family councils and citizen organizations

An ombudsman can address concerns on:

-- Physical, verbal or mental abuse

-- Deprivation of services necessary to a resident's physical and/or mental health

-- Unreasonable confinement

-- Violations of residents' dignity or rights

-- Poor quality of care, including slow responses to requests for assistance or inadequate personal care'

-- Inappropriate use of physical or chemical restraints

-- Improper discharge or transfer of resident

If your loved one is neglected or abused by a member of the staff, another resident or anyone else, the ombudsman for the facility can be a terrific resource for help. In addition, you may need to notify the police. An attorney can help you determine if a claim for compensation is also something you can pursue.

Source:, "What is an Ombudsman?," accessed Feb. 17, 2017

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