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Elder Justice Coalition - Sonoma County Human Services

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program advocates for more than 4,376 Sonoma County residents in 175 nursing and residential care facilities for the elderly.

About Us

The Ombudsman program is a part of Senior Advocacy Services. Ombudsmen work to resolve problems and concerns of individual residents by creating a presence through regular unannounced visits, monitoring conditions and care, and providing a voice for those unable to speak for themselves.

Ombudsmen receive and investigate approximately 1,000 complaints per year; these run the gamut of issues from complaints about cold food to alleged sexual abuse. Our Ombudsman program is the mandated reporting agency for any suspected abuse that occurs in licensed long-term care facilities.

Prevention, Education, and Advocacy

The Ombudsman Program staff and state certified Ombudsman volunteers are authorized by federal and state law to visit nursing homes, residential care and assisted living facilities to ensure that residents' rights are protected and that they are treated with dignity and are receiving quality care.

Ombudsmen are trained advocates, educated in the needs, rights and issues of residents living in long-term care facilities. They are knowledgeable in the state and federal regulations governing long-term care facilities.

How an Ombudsman can help:

The following list shows some examples of how an Ombudsman can help.
  • By making unannounced regular visits to licensed long-term care facilities to talk with residents about their needs and concerns.
  • Through investigating and attempting to resolve concerns or problems made by or on behalf of residents such as: inadequate nursing care, allegation of financial exploitation, concern about their plan of care, and involuntary discharge notices.
  • By acting to improve conditions in facilities through working to resolve adverse conditions raised by resident complaints or identified by Ombudsman visits.
  • By providing information on and witnessing of Advanced Health Care Directives.
  • Through being available to provide training to long-term care staff and educational presentations to community organizations.

No Question or Problem is Too Small

Ombudsmen take every concern expressed by residents or families seriously.

From cold food, unanswered call bells, and short staffing, to outright neglect and abuse. All concerns and problems that affect qualify of life and care of the resident are important. The Ombudsman is there to help ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and given the highest quality of care possible.

To File a Grievance with the Ombudsman

All Complaints are confidential. All licensed skilled nursing facilities and residential care and assisted living facilities are required by law to prominently display the Ombudsman poster listing contact numbers and services.

You may Call 707-526-4108 or (800) 231-4024. There is no waiting list or fee for services. Emergency calls are referred to appropriate resources for action 24 hours a day.

Oversight and Funding

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is governed by the federal Older American’s Act and by California State Law. The State Health and Welfare Agency, Department of Aging administers the statewide Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program throughout the state. For Ombudsman Programs in other areas of California or the United States call (800) 231-4024.

The Sonoma County Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is administered by Senior Advocacy Services and funded with federal, state and local private and public support.