Long Term Care Ombudsman

What Does an Ombudsman Do?

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Long-term care ombudsmen are advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, and assisted living facilities. Ombudsmen provide information about how to find a facility and what to do to get quality care. They are trained to resolve problems. If you want, the ombudsman can assist you with complaints. However, unless you give the ombudsman permission to share your concerns, these matters are kept confidential. Under the federal Older Americans Act, every state is required to have an Ombudsman Program that addresses complaints and advocates for improvements in the long-term care system.

The ombudsman program is administered by the Administration on Aging (AoA).  The network has 7,331 volunteers certified to handle complaints and 1,320 paid staff. Most state ombudsman programs are housed in their State Unit on Aging.  Nationally, in 2016 the ombudsman program investigated over 199,493 complaints on behalf of 125,642 individuals and provided information on long-term care to another 378,582 people.

Visit the AoA website for more information.

Whether through individual contact with residents or systemic advocacy, ombudsmen make a difference in the lives of residents in long-term care facilities every day.

A Long-Term Care Ombudsman:

  • Resolves complaints made by or for residents of long-term care facilities
  • Educates consumers and long-term care providers about residents' rights and good care practices
  • Promotes community involvement through volunteer opportunities
  • Provides information to the public on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and services, residents' rights, and legislative and policy issues
  • Advocates for residents' rights and quality care in nursing homes, personal care, residential care, and other long-term care facilities
  • Promotes the development of citizen organizations, family councils, and resident councils
  • Long-term care ombudsmen efforts are summarized in the National Ombudsman Reporting System - current NORS data to include the number of facilities visited, the types of complaints handled, and the kinds of complaints filed with ombudsmen. Data has been collected since 1996 and gives a good picture of the extent of ombudsman activities nationally and in every state.

This Ombudsman program infographic has been created to give a brief overview of the work Ombudsman programs do and the impact they have around the nation. View and download the printable infographic.

Ombudsman program infographic logo.


Long Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) promotes quality of care and quality of life in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Trained program staff receives and investigates complaints, advocates for resident rights, monitor facilities, educate nursing home staff and other professionals regarding long term care issues including awareness of elder abuse.  Trained volunteers are needed to support the activities of this program. Call 410-396-3144 to volunteer.

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