Long-Term Care Ombudsman (Advocacy for residents in long-term care facilities)

North Carolina's Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program consists of an Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman and 16 Offices of the Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman that are housed in Area Agencies on Aging across North Carolina. Long-Term Care Ombudsmen assist residents of long-term care facilities in exercising their rights and attempt to resolve grievances between residents/families and facilities.

The regional ombudsmen help support the efforts of Adult Care Home and Nursing Home Community Advisory Committees (N.C.G.S. 131E-128 and 131D-3).

The services provided by the Ombudsman Program include:

  • 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 and provide information on specific facilities (such as the latest and past certification survey 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 on coverage criteria, application procedures and what services these programs cover
    • give guidance on such matters such as powers of attorney, living wills and guardianship.
  • Educating community groups and long-term care providers on various topics such as residents' rights, restraint use, care planning, activities and new laws.
  • Investigating and assessing matters to help families, residents and families resolve concerns and problems. Common areas of complaints include:
    • Inadequate medical and personal services being provided to residents such as problems with medication, nutrition and personal 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
  • Working with appropriate regulatory agencies and referring individuals to such agencies when resolutions of concerns or grievances are not possible through the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program alone.
  • Raising long-term care issues of concern to policymakers.


North Carolina’s State Long-Term Care Ombudsman is Sharon Wilder.

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