Nursing homes in New York have a program for ensuring that your loved one is safe and happy, and enjoying his or her highest possible quality of life. This is the New York State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, and it is mandated by the Federal Older Americans Act.
One of the first steps to protecting your loved one’s rights is understanding what they are. The ombudsman for your facility promotes family councils to educate you about these and to provide you with the opportunity to communicate with others about the quality of care in the nursing home. He or she supports the development of resident councils, as well.
Residents have the right to access services that the program provides to protect their welfare, health and safety and ensure that their rights are not violated. If you notice that there is a violation or that your loved one’s needs are not being met, you can file a complaint with the ombudsman, and he or she will investigate it and do what is necessary to resolve it at the facility level.
Some problems go deeper than one resident, or even one facility. One of the responsibilities of the ombudsman is to raise awareness of these issues with the community and with lawmakers in the state. He or she also participates in the development of laws at the federal, state and local level, providing analysis and comments to ensure that these are beneficial to residents.
This information about the state ombudsman program is general in nature. It should not replace the advice of an attorney.