The Long Term Care District Ombudsman and trained, certified Volunteer Ombudsman Representatives (V.O.R.s) work to resolve problems that may arise in long-term care facilities with elderly and disabled residents. This advocacy service is available through Partnership in ten Southeast Tennessee Counties (Hamilton, Bradley, Meigs, Marion, McMinn, Rhea, Sequatchie, Polk, Grundy and Bledsoe).
What are the rights of long-term-care residents? Are they the same in every facility?
The federal government has established a standard set of rights applicable to residents of nursing and boarding homes in all states. The District Ombudsman will be glad to share this information with those wishing to learn more about them.
What services does the District Ombudsman provide?
The Long Term Care District Ombudsman and the Volunteer Ombudsman Representatives will:
- Make routine visits to each facility in the ten county area
- Make additional facility visits when a specific problem arises
- Receive, investigate and impartially mediate disputes between facility, residents, family, staff and/or other service providers
- Promote healthy, realistic attitudes and expectations about nursing/boarding homes with residents and their families
- Share information about residents' rights and responsibilities with residents, their families and facility staff
- Help to clarify nursing home or boarding home regulations
- Serve as strong advocates in order to assure that residents' rights are not violated and that dignity is maintained
- Promote resident, family and citizen councils to study long-term care issues
- Offer information and referral to callers enquiring about long-term-care facilities and available resources for home and community-based services
- Provide public awareness and education on the needs, problems and issues connected with aging
What types of problems does the District Ombudsman address?
The District Ombudsman helps to resolve problems addressing:
- Financial exploitation
- Physical and sexual abuse
- Dietary problems
- Missing and stolen personal items
- Wet and soiled bedding
- Family conflicts
How does the District Ombudsman learn about possible problems?
Some problems are easy to observe or are reported by a resident; others are discovered as a result of concerns expressed by a resident's family, friends or by staff of the facility, itself. All information is completely confidential. If you observe a problem or have a concern about the care of a loved one at a facility, call 423-755-2877.
Is there a charge for Ombudsman services?
There is no charge for the services provided by the Long Term Care District Ombudsman or Volunteer Ombudsman Representatives.
Is there a waiting list for Ombudsman Services?
Although there is no waiting list for these advocacy services, cases are prioritized according to severity of need.
How can I become a Volunteer Ombudsman Representative (V.O.R.)?
If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer Ombudsman Representative, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at 423-697-3824.
This program is funded by the United Way, Federal Older Americans Act, (through the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability and, locally, through the Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability) as well as private contributions.