"Ombudsman" is a Norwegian word for a person who acts as a citizen representative. In modern society, an ombudsman is a third party that acts to investigate and resolve complaints involving residents of long-term care facilities. Long-term care facilities include nursing homes, group homes and assisted living communities. 

What Does an Ombudsman Do?

Mainly, an ombudsman receives and resolves complaints against long-term care facilities. However, Ombudsman groups also:

  • Educate consumers and long-term care providers about residents' rights;
  • Promote community involvement with senior citizens; and
  • Provide information to the public about long-term care facilities.

The Ombudsman is an advocate whose goal is to promote the highest possible quality of life for residents.

The Maryland Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program helps residents in long-term care facilities maintain their legal rights, control their care, and retain their personal dignity.

Should I ask for an Ombudsman's help?

You should consider seeking the assistance of an Ombudsman if you are:

  • A resident of a long term care facility and are either dissatisfied with the quality of care you are receiving, or are having a dispute with the facility
  • A friend or relative of a resident in a long term care facility, concerned about the care the resident is receiving
  • Interested in improving the quality of care for residents of long term facilities

What does the Ombudsman Program do for Long Term Care Residents?

If you are a resident of a long term care facility, or a friend or relative of a resident of a long term care facility, contacting an Ombudsman may be of benefit to you. An Ombudsman can:

  • Help you to understand your legal rights
  • Help to implement your legal rights.
  • Attempt to resolve complaints made by or on behalf of long term care residents.
  • Provide assistance and support to residents until disputes are resolved.
  • Provide information and referral services regarding long term care issues.
  • Identify insufficiencies in the care of long term residents
  • Advocate for improvement in long term care legislation and policy.

If you have further questions about nursing homes, long term care, or assisted living options, the PLL offers information about all of these topics:

  • Nursing Homes
  • Assisted Living Options
  • Long Term Care 

Pre-placement Counseling

Deciding to enter a long term care facility is a major life decision, and requires careful planning. Pre-placement counseling is available for seniors and their families considering admission to a long term care facility. Issues to be reviewed and discussed include:

  • How to Select a Facility
  • Types of Facilities Available
  • Current Facility Survey by State Licensing Agencies
  • Financial Considerations

How to select a facility. A good website that may provide help in this area is:

  • Nursing Home Admission Contracts in Maryland
    This website is sponsored by the Maryland State Bar Association. It contains information on nursing home contracts, and discusses the rights of long-term care patients when considering a long term facility or when signing a contract. It will be beneficial to those considering entering a long term facility, or friends and family of those considering a long term option.
  • Information and Referral Services for Older Marylanders
    This website, hosted by the Maryland Department of Aging, provides contact information for services that may be useful to the senior citizens of Maryland. This is an excellent website if you or a friend or relative is looking for a trusted referral service for long term care facilities in Maryland.

Types of facilities available. For more information on long-term care options, please visit:

Nursing Home Alternatives discusses viable options to nursing home care. This website would be particularly valuable if you are a senior citizen and would like to explore your living options.

Current facility survey by state licensing agencies. For information on where to find information on what long term facilities are currently state licensed, contact:

Maryland Department of Aging and lists other agencies of interest that may be of assistance with researching or learning about senior citizens. This website will be beneficial for you to visit if you are interested in exploring the option of long term care or assisted living facilities.

Financial Considerations

Placement in a long term care facility may become very expensive very quickly. However, you may not have to shoulder this financial burden alone. Publicly funded programs, including Medicare, Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), all have different policies regarding long-term care, and it may be to your benefit to see what assistance these organizations may provide.

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Is this legal advice?

This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options.  However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site.  In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2017.”

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