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North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services


Ombudsman Program


North Carolina's Long Term Care Ombudsman Program consists of state and regional ombudsmen who help residents of long term care facilities to exercise their rights. In addition to being an advocate for residents, they educate the public and facility staff about rights and help resolve grievances between residents/families and facilities. The regional ombudsmen, who are located within Area Agencies on Aging, also help support the efforts of Adult Care Home and Nursing Home Community Advisory Committees (N.C.G.S. 131E-128 and 131D-3). These local committees, which are composed of volunteers appointed by county commissioners, routinely visit facilities, serve as advocates for residents, help ensure that the intent of the resident's bill of rights is maintained, and work to increase community involvement in long term care facilities. There are over 1,000 such volunteers statewide, with committees in each county. The State Ombudsman is Sharon Wilder. The services provided by the Ombudsman Program include:

  1. Answering questions and giving guidance about the long term care system. An ombudsman will:
    • explain long term care options
    • give pointers on how to select a long term care facility provide information on specific facilities (such as the latest and past certification reports and complaint information)
    • explain residents' rights and other federal and state laws and regulations affecting long term care facilities and residents
    • give guidance on the Medicaid and Medicare programs--specifically qualification criteria, application procedures and what services these programs cover
    • give guidance on such matters such as powers of attorney, living wills and guardianship.

  2. Educating community groups and long term care providers on various topics such as residents' rights, restraint use, care planning, activities and new laws.

  3. Investigating and assessing matters to help families, residents and families resolve concerns and problems. Common areas of complaints include:
    • medical and personal services being provided to residents such as problems with medication, nutrition and hygiene
    • financial concerns such as handling of residents' funds, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
    • rights of residents, such as the right to be treated with courtesy and to have individual requests and preferences respected
    • nursing home administrative decisions, such as admission to or discharge from a facility.

  4. Working with appropriate regulatory agencies and referring individualsto such agencies when resolution of issues are not possible through theOmbudsman Program alone.

  5. Raising long term care issues of concern to policymakers.


Last updated June 10, 2013



LTC Ombudsman Program