What is an Ombudsman?2017-04-18T14:59:05+00:00

You may have heard the term ombudsman before in your research of nursing home neglect and abuse. This is an important person when it comes to this issue. They can help you if your loved one gets neglected or abused while in the care of a nursing home. Here, information will be provided to help you understand the role of this person.

Ombudsman

The government usually appoints an ombudsman. This person represents the interest of the public. They do so by investigating and addressing complaints of violation of rights. A violation of rights includes the neglect and abuse of your elderly loved one.

The usual duties of this person are to investigate complaints and to try to resolve them. This oftentimes happens through recommendations or mediation. They go through the appropriate steps to see what happened to your loved one. They make sure the correct actions are taking against the abusers.

These people sometimes also aim to identify systematic issues. These issues lead to poor service or breaches of people’s rights. If you suspect a breach in our elderly loved ones rights, the ombudsman will help you to get justice.

At the national level, ombudsmen have a wide mandate to deal with the whole public sector. Sometimes they also deal with elements of the private sector. In some cases, there is more of a restricted mandate. This might happen with particular sectors of society. The ombudsman is here to help you during the difficult time after the neglect or abuse of your loved one.

What an Ombudsman Can’t Do

There are certain things that these people can and cannot do. It is important for you to allow the ombudsman to do their job correctly. For example, and ombudsman can:

  • Listen to you and discuss your concerns.
  • Answer your questions or refer you to someone who can.
  • Explain how policies or procedures work.
  • Help you identify options or get information to help you resolve a problem.
  • Mediate a dispute or help communication among people in conflict.
  • Recommend changes to policies/procedures that appear outdated or problematic while maintaining confidentiality.
  • Refer you to the appropriate office should you want to file a formal complaint.
  • Identify trends or patterns of complaints or problems that might be systemic.
  • Provide other forms of help to help you resolve a problem informally.

An ombudsman cannot:

  • Make or change decisions, rules, or policies.
  • Set aside a decision or supersede someone else’s authority.
  • Duplicate an existing grievance procedure.
  • Provide legal advice or act as a substitute for union representation.
  • Testify in formal grievance, or legal proceedings about confidential communication.
  • Conduct formal investigations.

These are rules that cannot be broken. If they are broken, it could result in the ombudsman losing their job. Of course you want this person to help you in your case. But, if they lose their job, they will not be able to help you anymore. It is important to follow their guidelines so that the process is done correctly.

Ombudsman and Neglect and Abuse

In a neglect and abuse case, an ombudsman is an official who investigates complaints. They will find out what happened and then help you to resolve the issue. They might do this by going to court or just working something out with the nursing home.

Get in touch with an ombudsman who investigated claims made against a home you have been researching. This will give you you more information about neglect and abuse in that home. This can help you make decisions about which homes to avoid and which ones will be suitable for your parent. It is important to know which homes have a bad record with the ombudsman. You can be sure that you are not going to put your loved one into a home that they could potentially be harmed in.

When contacting an ombudsman, understand that they won’t completely solve your problem. The ombudsman is there to investigate the issues reported. They are a useful source of information when it comes to researching a home to put your loved one in. This person can help you to prevent abuse before making the decision of which home to send your loved one to.