Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
A Long Term Care Ombudsman serves as the advocate for residents in long-term facilities. They investigate complaints and negotiate on the residents’ behalf to resolve complaints to the residents’ satisfaction. This is the only program of its kind that is totally devoted to the concerns of facility residents.
The Long Term Care Ombudsman is governed by the federal Older Americans Act. The South Carolina Department on Aging administers the statewide Long Term Care Ombudsman Program through ten regional offices located throughout the state. There is no charge for services provided by the Ombudsman Program.
The Long Term Care Ombudsman
- Investigates and works to resolve problems or complaints affecting long-term care residents.
- Identifies problem areas in long-term care facilities and advocates or mediates for change.
- Provides information about long term care and related services.
- Promote resident, family, and community involvement in long-term care.
- Educates the community about the needs of long-term care residents.
- Coordinates efforts with other agencies concerned with long-term care.
- Visits long-term care facilities to talk to residents and monitor conditions.
- Educates residents and facility staff about residents’ rights and other issues.
Types of Residential Facilities
Community Residential Care Facilities/Assisted Living Facilities provide room and board and limited personal assistance. The core services provided include, but are not limited to:
- Three meals a day
- Snacks at no additional charge
- Housekeeping services
- Assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting and walking
- Medication assistance
- 24 hours, seven days a week staffing
- Transportation to medical appointments.
Residents of these facilities are not eligible for reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid, but eligible residents may qualify for the Optional State Supplement (OSS) Program which can pay a supplement to a Community Residential Care facility for individuals 65 and over, blind or disabled. This program is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. The requirements to qualify for OSS have stringent limitations on assets and income available to the recipient. Community Residential Care Facilities (CRCF’s) are licensed and monitored for compliance by the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, Division of Health Licensing.
Nursing Home facilities are licensed by the State and monitored for compliance with federal regulations by the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, Division of Health Licensing. You will find information from state surveys of nursing homes in your area at Nursing Home compare on the Medicare website (www.medicare.gov/NHCompare).
Alzheimer’s Services or Memory Care Facilities offer special care treatment and/or special care units for dementia residents. Both Community Residential Care facilities and Nursing Homes may provide special care for Alzheimer’s patients.
Lists of licensed long term care facilities in South Carolina by type of facility may be found on the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) website at www.scdhec.gov/health/licen/hrtypfac.htm. On this page you will find links to lists of Community Residential Care Facilities (CRCFs), Day Care Facilities for Adults, Nursing Homes and Home Health Agencies.
Specific Resident’s Rights
If you feel that your rights or the rights of others are not being respected and they live in a licensed facility in the Trident Area (Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester counties), contact the Long Term Care Ombudsman at Trident Area Agency on Aging at 843-554-2280 or email:
Katherine Higgins, [email protected]
Volunteer Ombudsman Program
SIXTY PERCENT OF THE RESIDENTS IN LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES HAVE NO VISITORS. The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program sponsors Volunteer Ombudsman who visit with residents at facilities on a regular basis. The volunteers help to educate residents and families on residents’ rights.
The Volunteer Ombudsman diminish the sense of isolation experienced by residents, especially those without family. They provide encouragement and assist the resident in achieving a sense of self-determination.
Volunteer Ombudsman are special people who make a significant contribution. Through their efforts, they improve the quality of life for many seniors in our state. They ensure that the lines of communication between residents and staff remain open.
What is required to be a Volunteer Ombudsman?
Because residents in long term-care facilities may be at risk of exploitation, the South Carolina Department on Aging maintains high standards. Volunteers must:
- Be 18 years of age or older.
- Have a valid driver’s license and transportation.
- Not use controlled substances.
- Not have a criminal record.
- Pass a criminal background check.
- Have acceptable verbal, listening and writing skills.
- Be available for a minimum of 2-4 hours each week to visit a designated facility.
- Be free from any conflicts of interest.
- Not have a member of their immediate family, friend, or other relative in the facility that they serve.
- Abide by The Ombudsman Code of Ethics.
What are Volunteer Ombudsman services?
Volunteer Ombudsman can provide information and education to residents, their families, and facility staff about residents’ rights.
Their interaction with residents and facility staff improves the quality of life and can enable facilities to improve quality of care.
Make a difference in someone’s life, become a Volunteer Ombudsman for the South Carolina Department on Aging. Call us at 843-529-2275 or email: [email protected]