The Long-Term Care Ombudsmen Program
Ombudsmen help residents in long term care living facilities and their families and friends understand and exercise the rights they are guaranteed by law. The sections below will explain more about your rights and how we can help.
What is the history of this program?
The Long Term Care Ombudsmen program (LTCOP), established in all states under the Older Americans Act (Title 7), works on behalf of residents in long term care facilities and Assisted Living facilities. The Montana LTCOP is authorized by and acts in accordance with the federal Older Americans Act, 42 U.S.C., Section 3001 et esq. and Title 50, Chapter 5, Montana Codes Annotated. Montana currently has over 350 Long-Term care living options.
In Montana, all Ombudsmen must attend and pass a 45-hour training course in order to be certified as an Ombudsmen. The Area Agencies on Aging or the County Council on Aging employ over 30 certified Ombudsmen throughout the state.
What can an Ombudsman help me with?
A trained Ombudsmen can help with issues like:
- Resolve problems or complaints from people living in Assisted Living or Long Term Care facilities
- Provide information to residents about long-term care services
- Speak on your behalf to agencies to seek remedies to protect residents
- Help you learn about resident rights and good care practices
- Advise on starting resident and family councils
- Advocate for changes to improve your quality of life and care
- Help you become involved in your community through volunteering
- If you are moved or released without proper notice or cause, the Ombudsman can look into it
- They can also look into claims of physical, verbal or emotional abuse
- Address concerns about quality of life
- Inform the public on nursing homes and assisted living facilities
- Inform residents and the public about long term care issues and concerns
What are my rights?
Resident's rights are defined in the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 [42 CFR 483.10] and in Montana State Statutes. (Montana Long-Term Care Resident's Bill of Rights, Title 50, Chapter 5, Montana Codes Annotated).
Residents have these rights, including, but not limited to:
- Be treated with dignity and respect
- Be fully informed prior to admission of their rights, services available and all charges
- Be transferred or discharged against your wishes only for specified reasons provided by law; be given at least 30 days written notice of moves outside the facility; and be informed of your appeal and rights to live there again
- Be fully informed by a physician of your medical condition; to be given the opportunity to participate in the planning of your medical treatment
- Be free from chemical and physical restraint
- Voice grievances without fear of reprisal
- Send and receive personal mail
- Be assured privacy for visits by your spouse or be permitted to share a room with your spouse if she/he is also a resident
- Associate and communicate privately with any person of their choice
- Access to an Ombudsmen
- Have your records kept confidential
- File a complaint or recommend changes in policies and services for yourself or others to the resident council, facility staff and/or outside representatives to be free from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal; and to be informed by the facility of the outcome of any complaints presented; or to ask a state agency or Ombudsmen for assistance in resolving grievances
- Examine the results of the most recent state or federal inspection of the facility and any plan of correction
For More Information Contact:
The State Long Term Care Ombudsmen
Office on Aging, Senior and Long Term Care Division
1-800-332-2272 (Note: This Help Line is only available during normal business hours. For all emergencies, call 911)
Your Regional or Local Ombudsmen
Area Agency on Aging
1-800-551-3191 (Note: This Help Line is only available during normal business hours. For all emergencies, call 911)