Merced County Ombudsman are advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, assisted living and other adult care facilities. Ombudsman work to resolve problems individual residents face in long-term care settings to improve quality of care issues. In addition, Ombudsman help identify, investigate, and resolve complaints that may arise in long-term care settings. Merced County Ombudsman program seeks to not only provide effective and timely response to handling complaints but are dedicated to maintaining the highest level of confidentiality while providing our services.
Ombudsman services include:
- Investigate and resolve complaints that take place in adult and senior care facilities.
- Ensure residents have regular and timely access to Ombudsman services.
- Educate residents, their family and facility staff about resident rights, good care practices, and support resources.
- Assist with the development of resident and family councils.
- Advocate for quality of care and life for residents.
- Provide and educate the general public about Ombudsman services in regard to long-term care facilities and services, resident rights, and legislative and policy issues.
- Ombudsman will represent resident interest before governmental agencies; and seek legal, administrative, and other remedies to protect residents.
- Witness Advance Health Care Directives or Property Transfers.
The California State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is authorized by the federal Older Americans Act and its State companion, the Older Californians Act.
The Ombudsman volunteers are state-certified through the California Department of Aging. They are trained to objectively investigate and seek resolution of problems encountered in long-term care. Patients and residents of long-term care facilities as well as friends, families, and others may bring any concerns and complaints related to the care and the operation of a facility to the Ombudsman. All communications with the Ombudsman program are confidential.
Volunteers are needed for the Long Term Care Program. If you would like to be a volunteer, please fill out the Volunteer Application Form and either drop it off at the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Office or email to the HSA Ombudsman, more information is on the application.
Advance Health Care Directive
Merced County Ombudsman program recognizes the importance of having one's wishes being met. An Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD) is an important document to have in place for anyone that resides in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF). An AHCD ensures that a resident's wishes are known and allows the resident to have maximum control over future medical decisions by expressing his or her wishes about medical care and selecting an agent to make medical decisions immediately or in the event the resident becomes incapacitated. Please visit the Advanced Healthcare Directive Form on the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) website to obtain further information on an AHCD and how an Ombudsman Representative can assist you with this service.
Ombudsman staff and volunteers are required by State law to witness AHCDs when executed by residents of SNFs or Distinct Part SNFs; and property transfers with a fair market value greater than $100 between residents and employees (or family members of employees) of long-term care facilities. Where to look or who to call for more information:
- Legal Authority STATE Probate Code, Sections 4609, 4617, 4673-76, 4695, 4701 et seq., and 4780-86. Health and Safety Code, Sections 1289 and 1418.
- FEDERAL Title 42, United States Code, Sections 1395cc(f) and 1396a(w).
- Contact information to schedule an appointment for consultation via telephone or email: (209) 385-7402 or [email protected].
Merced County's Program
The Ombudsman/Elder Abuse Prevention Program is an internal function of the Merced County Area Agency on Aging. The Agency has skilled and licensed Ombudsman staff and volunteers that ensure seniors of Merced County in long-term care facilities are provided with rights advocacy and complaint referrals and resolution.
For more information, call (209) 385-7402.
State CRISIS line number: 1-800-231-4024. The CRISIS line is available to take calls and refer complaints 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.