The mission of the Arkansas Ombudsman Program is to ensure that long-term facility residents have the right to live their lives with dignity and feel free to voice complaints or concerns without fear of retaliation.
The Ombudsman strives to be a trusted advocate for all residents by educating them regarding their rights, investigation of complaints and empowering residents to speak for themselves. The Ombudsman provides support for those who feel they do not have a voice.
What is a Long-Term Care Ombudsman?
A Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) is a resident advocate making sure residents at long-term care facilities have a good quality of life and get the care they need and deserve. The Ombudsman does this in several different ways by:
Investigating and resolving complaints to the residents’ satisfaction
Providing information like community resources, staff training, and Residents’ Rights to families, staff, and the resident.
Advocating for changes to improve residents’ care and quality of life
Empowering residents and promoting self-advocacy
Promoting the Residents' Rights guaranteed to residents under federal and state law and regulations
The LTCO is knowledgeable when it comes to state and federal regulations and will refer to relevant regulations as they advocate for residents. The LTCO coordinates efforts with other agencies and organizations to ensure the best quality of care and quality of life for residents.
The LTCO reviews and investigates complaint allegations including abuse, neglect, and exploitation made by or on behalf of residents. Federal law gives each nursing home resident the right to quality of care and quality of life. This includes freedom from neglect, abuse, exploitation, and misappropriation of property. During these investigations, the LTCO cannot share information with anyone without a resident’s consent.
What are the Residents Rights?
Residents of nursing homes have rights guaranteed by the federal Nursing Home Reform Act. This law requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident”, while stressing individual dignity and self-determination.
Right to a Dignified Existence
Right to a dignified existence: This includes equal access to quality care and the right to be treated with respect and dignity. This means being free from abuse and neglect and being able to exercise rights without any interference. Residents are also allowed to keep their personal belongings secure and use them as much as possible.
Rights During Discharge or Transfer
Rights during discharge or transfer: This includes the right to appeal a proposed transfer or discharge and not be discharged while an appeal is pending. Residents must get a 30-day written notice of discharge or transfer which includes the reason, date of change, the location, appeal rights, and how to file an appeal along with the name and contact information of the LTCO. Residents must also have the right to go through preparation and orientation to ensure a safe and orderly discharged or transfer and receive a notice of the right to return to the facility after being hospitalized or after therapeutic leave.
Right to Self-Determination
Right to self-determination: This includes the right to refuse, request, or discontinue treatment, as a well as the right to reasonable accommodation of needs and preferences. It also includes the right to choose which doctor a resident wants to see, choose what activities to take part in, and organize and participate in resident and family groups, among other things.
Right to be Fully Informed
Right to be fully informed: This includes the right to know the type of care a resident is receiving, including the benefits and risks of proposed treatments. This also means the resident has the right to know of any changes to their health care plan, residents’ rights, state survey reports, written notice before a change in room or roommate, and notices and information written in a language they can understand.
Right of Access
Right of access: This includes the right to access individuals, services, community members, and activities inside and outside the facility and be allowed to decide who gets to visit and as well as refuse any visitors. This right also gives residents a chance to access medical and personal records, take part in social, religious, and community activities. They also can meet with their personal physician, representatives from the state survey agency, and LTCO program.
Rights Regarding Financial Affairs
Rights regarding financial affairs: This includes the right to manage personal financial affairs, and get information about available services and how much each one will cost. Residents are allowed personal funds of more than $100 ($50 if their care is funded by Medicaid) deposited by the facility in an interest-bearing account, access to financial statements upon request and not be charged for services covered by Medicaid or Medicare.
Right to Raise Grievances
Right to raise grievances: This includes the right to file a complaint with the LTCO program or the state survey agency and present grievances without discrimination or the fear of retaliation. Residents can also prompt efforts by the facility to resolve grievances and provide a written decision upon request..
Right to Privacy
Right to privacy: This includes the right to privacy regarding personal, financial, and medical affairs. Residents also have a right to private and unrestricted communication with anyone they want to talk to. This right also extends to privacy during treatment and care of personal needs.
Who is my Long-Term Care Ombudsman?
You can search for your local LTC Ombudsman in the table below:
Search for your county:
Meet the Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Staff
Region I A
Region I B
Region VI (South)
Region VI (North)
Map of which counties each region serves
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