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Nursing Home Ombudsman Program advocates for quality care
and quality of life in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Ombudsmen identify, investigate and resolve complaints by or on
behalf of facility residents. Volunteer and staff ombudsmen serve
as independent, unbiased advocates for residents and work with all
persons involved to reach acceptable solutions to problems. Ombudsmen
work closely with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, the government
agency that regulates nursing homes. State and federal laws authorize
the Nursing Home Ombudsman Program.
Visitor is a part of Nursing Home Ombudsman Program.
Services are provided at no charge.
What an ombudsman can do for you or your loved one
Ombudsmen are trained to listen, provide information and help resolve problems
confidentially. Contact us by telephone (214.823.5700) or
if you have a complaint or a concern about resident rights and resident care.
if you need assistance in choosing a long-term care facility for a loved one.
Examples of complaints we handle
Ombudsmen address quality
of care and quality of life concerns that may include unanswered
call buttons, roommate problems, staffing, food and unsanitary conditions.
Ombudsmen visit homes to reach out to residents and families as
well as receive complaints by telephone, mail and email. A staff
or volunteer Ombudsman will discuss the problem with you, investigate
and observe, then make recommendations about possible solutions.
After you have first attempted to resolve a problem with facility
staff, working with an Ombudsman is typically the fastest and most
effective means to problem solving.
case of abuse or neglect, all complaints must be made to the Texas
Department of Aging and Disability Services, Long-Term Care Regulatory,
1.800.458.9858. This number is used for all types of complaints
about nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Residents, family,
visitors, staff and Ombudsmen may call.
Our service area
Dallas Nursing Home Ombudsman Program works with all Dallas County
nursing homes and assisted living facilities. To obtain the appropriate
phone numbers outside of the county, you may call our office, 214.823.5700,
or the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, 512.438.4400.
Hints for choosing a long-term care facility
- Visit the
facility 2 or 3 times at different times of the day and on the
weekend. Include visits at mealtimes.
- Use and
listen to your senses: sight, smell and hearing.
- Notice whether
facility and residents are clean.
- Notice how
staff interact with residents. Do they treat them with respect
- Review the
facility activity calendar to see whether quality activities are
provided and actually occur at scheduled times.
- Ask whether
the facility has active family and resident councils, and speak
to members about their impressions of the facility.
- Ask to see
the most recent Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services annual survey
findings and ask questions about any finding that concerns you.
- Meet with
the facility administrator and other key personnel, including
the Director of Nursing, Social Work Director and Activities Director.
- Ask to visit
living areas where your loved one will reside. The room you are
shown should meet your loved one's
- Ask to see
the dining area where your loved one will eat/be fed. Review the
menu. Visit during a meal.
review the facility admission packet for information on fees and
- Call the Ombudsman Program at 214.823.5700 to learn about the
home's history and complaints.
Training for long-term care facilities
educational sessions for nursing home staff, family, resident councils
and others. Programs include residents' rights, restraint reduction,
abuse and neglect regulations and how to deal with difficult behaviors.
Please contact us by telephone (214.823.5700) or email
for more information.
Why volunteer as an Ombudsman
Right now, there's a resident waiting for you. We never have enough volunteers to meet the needs of frail elderly in nursing homes. Please help by becoming a volunteer ombudsman. You can make an enormous difference in the lives of long-term care facility residents.
The story of
This is a story of a nursing home resident whose visitation rights were being violated, and the steps taken by ombudsmen to resolve the issue.
One of our staff ombudsmen received a call from a woman concerned about her friend,
Ms. A, who is a resident at a local assisted living facility. She was worried that the facility administrator and other staff were violating her friend's rights. The facility was refusing to allow
Ms. A to have visitors or use the telephone for personal calls unless her son granted permissiona clear violation of her rights as a long-term care facility resident.
Initially, the facility's staff were reluctant to allow the staff ombudsman to visit Ms. A, but she convinced them that they could not prevent
Ms. A from having visitors. In investigating the reasons for their unwillingness to allow outside contact, the ombudsman discovered that
Ms. A's son had instructed staff to clear all visitors and telephone calls through him. In a meeting, the ombudsman informed the facility's administrator that Ms. A's rights were being violated. He disagreed, saying that they were looking out for her best interest, and continued to deny any wrongdoing when the Director of the Nursing Home Ombudsman Program telephoned with her concerns.
Our staff then contacted the facility's corporate office and spoke with the regional director, who indicated she would talk with the home's administrator and resolve the issue. But a week later the staff ombudsman received a call from Ms. A's friend stating that the facility continued to
The ombudsman staff met with the administrator and again informed him that the situation could not legally continue. Less than a week later, the administrator contacted the staff ombudsman and informed her that the facility would allow Ms. A to receive visitors and make and receive telephone calls. He had explained to the son that by restricting visitors and telephone calls his mother's rights were being violated, and the facility could not support such actions.
Our staff ombudsman has made several follow-up visits to Ms. A and verified that she is receiving visitors and telephone calls. Ms. A's friend has called to say how grateful she is that the Ombudsman Program was able to resolve this problem because, as a result, Ms. A's quality of life has improved tremendously.
Who can become an Ombudsman
Individuals 18 years or older who have the time and concern can become an ombudsman. Ombudsmen cannot have a family member who is a resident in a local nursing facility, and they must not be employed by or have ownership in a long-term care facility or corporate office. A completed application, references, interviews and criminal background checks are required.
Responsibilities of an Ombudsman
After becoming a certified ombudsman, you are assigned to visit
at a long-term care facility weekly. Other duties include:
maintaining confidentiality of resident information
investigating all complaints received from residents and family
informing residents of their rights
empowering residents and families to work with long-term care facilities to solve problems
reporting visits and resident contacts to ombudsman program staff monthly
attending 12 hours annually of ongoing training
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Certification and training we provide for Ombudsmen
Ombudsmen volunteers will receive certification training by ombudsman staff through:
a total of 36 hours of training, including classroom training, home study and onsite visits
completion of a 3-month internship as a Friendly Visitor in an assigned long-term care facility prior to being certified as an ombudsman by the Texas Department of
Aging and Disability Services.
ongoing monthly training sessions.
Become a Volunteer Certified Nursing Home Ombudsman
click here for the application and form consenting to a criminal background check. Please return
both forms and a copy of your driver's license and birth
certificate, passport, or Social Security
card by mail (The Senior Source, 3910 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75219).
Number of contacts and complaints handled in
9,499 nursing home and assisted living residents received 58,083
contacts from ombudsman staff and volunteers in 69 nursing homes and
190 assisted living facilities. Ombudsmen resolved 3,706 complaints,
such as unanswered call buttons, dietary concerns, and unsanitary
conditions. 1,653 Friendly Visitor volunteers brought the community
into nursing homes through visitation, parties, and social
For more information
Please contact the Nursing Home Ombudsman Director at 214.823.5700 or