What’s an Ombudsman?

Man and woman

A Long-Term Care Ombudsman works objectively on behalf of older people receiving long term care services in a nursing home, an assisted living facility or in the community. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman is mandated to be resident-centered and thus while being objective, must always consider what is in the best interests of the person receiving the long term care services.


The Ombudsman Program has a unique role. While it works cooperatively with regulatory agencies such as the Virginia Department of Health – Office of Licensure & Certification and the Virginia Department of Social Services – Division of Licensing , as well as other programs such as Adult Protective Services, its efforts are focused on complaint resolution and empowering persons to resolve complaints themselves when appropriate.

What an Ombudsman Does:

An Ombudsman advocates for older persons receiving long term care by:

  • Receiving, investigating, and working to resolve complaints involving quality of care issues, made by or on the behalf of residents of long term care facilities, and for those receiving community based long term care service;
  • Assisting long-term care recipients in exercising their rights;
  • Mediating concerns between residents and/or their families and the care provider;
  • Providing consumer/public education, including information and referral assistance regarding Virginia’s network of long term care services;
  • Providing technical support for the development of resident and family councils; and
  • Monitoring and addressing regulation and policy affecting older people receiving long term care services.