Two key state-level organizations investigate nursing home complaints: the certification agency (responsible for the annual inspection) and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Both sources of resident and caregiver (family and facility staff) complaints may be particularly relevant to consumers as they represent a resident or caregiver perspective and can occur anytime.
Another source of information that is grounded in the resident's and caregiver's perspective is complaints to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Nelson, Huber, and Walter (1995) suggest that Ombudsman complaints may be a more accurate reflection of nursing home problems than CMS survey results given that the Ombudsman is in contact with the residents in nursing facilities on an ongoing basis.
The IFA Franchise Ombudsman program is an innovative process that can bring people and groups together and produce constructive dialogue.
One of the strategic values of an ombudsman program is to provide an early warning system for the franchisor without any identification of specific individuals.
Your State's Ombudsman program
might be able to help you with this information.
Programs housed in conflict-averse hierarchical organizations with diffused client interests, such as Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) (Hyman 1983), may be less resident-centered and more facility-interdependent than private, non-profit ombudsman programs
. For example, AAA-based ombudsmen field more complaints from nursing home administrators, and fewer against facilities, than the independent programs, who log "significantly higher percentages of complaints by nursing home residents themselves," and more complaints against facilities (Huber, Netting, and Kautz 1996:94).
Legislators enacted the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
in the 1970s, in response to widespread public concerns about nursing home quality.
State ombudsman programs
have been operating use 1988 regulations written to implement an older version of the Older Americans Act, officials said.
By retaining an outside third party, these employers are fostering the perception of neutrality and objectivity--both important elements for a successful ombudsman program
. An outside third party should have no previous connection with the employer or friends at the company with whom long-standing relationships have been cultivated.
While the ombudsman program
is a good place to begin your search for a nursing home, there are many other valuable community resources that you should consult before deciding which nursing homes to visit.
The Office of the State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
is most often housed within the state unit on aging, and funding for the program is patched together from multiple sources at the federal, state and local levels.
While any member of the IFA can access the IFA Ombudsman program
, any franchise system can have its own ombudsman program
tailored to its specific needs.