Kentucky Long-Term Care Ombudsman
The Kentucky Long-Term Care Ombudsman program advocates for residents of nursing homes, personal care homes and family care homes. Ombudsmen work to resolve problems of individual residents and to bring about improvements in care through changes at the local, state and national levels.
While most residents receive good care in long-term care facilities, far too many are neglected and suffer psychological, physical and other types of abuse. Kentucky has more than 80 trained volunteer ombudsmen who regularly visit long-term care facilities, monitor conditions and care and provide a voice for those unable to speak for themselves.
First launched in 1972 as a demonstration program, the ombudsman program today operates in all states as a provision of the Older Americans Act, administered by the federal Administration on Aging.
Since 1978, Kentucky ombudsmen have served residents of long-term care facilities in all 120 Kentucky counties. Services of the state Long-Term Care Ombudsman program are coordinated through the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Aging and Independent Living, Office of the State Long Term Care Ombudsman. The program also oversees 15 district programs affiliated with Area Agencies on Aging and Independent Living. The program receives federal, state and local funding and does not charge for services.
The responsibilities of long-term care ombudsmen include:
- Identifying, investigating and resolving complaints made by or on behalf of residents;
- Providing information to residents about long-term care services;
- Representing the interest of residents before governmental agencies and seeking administrative, legal and other remedies to protect residents;
- Analyzing, commenting on and recommending changes in laws and regulations pertaining to the health, safety, welfare and rights of residents;
- Educating and informing consumers and the general public about long-term care issues and concerns and facilitating public comment on laws, regulations, policies and actions;
- Promoting development of citizen organizations to participate in the program;
- Providing technical support to develop resident and family councils that protect the wellbeing and rights of residents; and
- Advocating for changes to improve residents’ quality of life and care.
||Complaint Resolution Process
When complaints and problems with long-term care, services, facilities or other matters arise, try first to resolve concerns with the health care provider. Often, your expression of concern can prompt solutions and improvements.
If problems cannot be resolved with the health care provider, the certified ombudsman serving the county where the facility is located can help you. Fifteen ombudsmen districts across the state serve residents and their families and provide assistance resolving problems and concerns. Please see our regional map to locate contact information for the ombudsman in your district.
Complaints are treated confidentially and you will control the complaint process and determine the extent to which ombudsmen become involved in resolving your problem. Ombudsmen and program staff will not act without consulting you.
An ombudsman first investigates complaints to verify and document reports. The findings of investigations are shared with the complaining party. Ombudsmen explain options for resolving concerns to residents and families and help find solutions. Ombudsmen will only take action that authorized by residents and their families.
Ombudsmen follow-up on resolved problems to ensure agreements remain in effect and additional problems do not arise.
Ombudsmen do not disclose the identity of residents or family members reporting complaints without their consent, unless ordered to do so by a court. When an ombudsman is unable to resolve a complaint without revealing the identity of the complaining party, the person making the complaint may decide whether the ombudsman proceeds in efforts to resolve a complaint.