Ombudsman Program

Ombudsman Program

"Advocate for those who can't, support those who can, and ensure all long-term consumers live with dignity and respect."

The Ombudsman Program is designed to support and empower consumers by resolving individual complaints involving long-term care service, while working to improve and enhance the long-term care living system for the residents and their families.

Mission Statement:
"Pennsylvania Ombudsmen are federally mandated, legally-based and state certified via standardized training to actively advocate and give voice to older consumers of long-term care services, whether delivered in the community or a facility-based setting.  Pennsylvania Ombudsmen champion the right of these consumers to achieve the highest quality of life and care wherever they reside.  Pennsylvania Ombudsmen may be staff, volunteers or PEER residents; all are united through an impassioned commitment to listen, educate, investigate, mediate and empower through a visible presence."

What is an Ombudsman?
Ombudsman is Swedish for "citizen representative".  Long-term care ombudsmen make themselves available to take a message of concern forward and help to resolve it on behalf of care-dependent elderly.

Ombudsmen are client driven and client directed.  As the consumer's advocate, they act on the wishes of the client.

An ombudsman is:

  • A trained individual who can help if you have a complaint or problem with any long-term care service;
  • A source to provide information about your rights as a consumer and assistance in exercising those rights;
  • An advocate for high standards of quality of care who promotes strict enforcement of those standards;
  • A promoter of the highest quality of life for care dependent Pennsylvanians, 60 years of age and older;
  • A consumer representative who works within the legislative and rule-making process to improve long-term care services throughout the state; and,
  • A person who assists long-term care consumers in pursing remedies to their problems.

What is the ombudsman's target population?
The following persons utilize ombudsman services:

  • Residents of long-term care facilities to include nursing facilities, personal care homes, and domiciliary care homes;
  • Individuals receiving long-term care services in their homes and community;
  • Families and friends of individuals who live in long-term care facilities; and,
  • Staff of long-term care facilities
  • Government agencies.

For additional information about the Ombudsman Program, or to become a Volunteer Ombudsman in Lehigh County, call (610) 782-3200 or email the Lehigh County Office of Aging and Adult Services at agingandadult@lehighcounty.org.