Help for residents of nursing homes and adult care facilities
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Help for residents of nursing homes and adult care facilities

When we entrust people we care about to a licensed long-term care provider, we want to be certain of our choice and confident that the best care will be provided. Unfortunately, this is all too often not the case. For this reason, the government has designated an advocate, known as an Ombudsman, for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, assisted living facilities and similar adult care facilities. The Ombudsman can help you understand and exercise your rights to good care in an environment that protects an individual’s dignity and quality of life.

Certified Ombudsmen include former teachers, businessmen, health care workers, and others. They are also homemakers, attorneys, and others who care about the well being of people living in nursing homes and adult care facilities. The Ombudsman investigates and helps resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents; promoting the development of resident and family councils; and informing government agencies, providers and the general public about issues and concerns impacting residents of long-term care facilities.

Specific rights for those living in assisted care facilities and nursing homes include:

  • choice of physician and involvement in treatment options;
  • right to be admitted without a third-party guarantee as a condition of admission;
  • freedom from improper physical or chemical restraints;
  • freedom from abuse;
  • right to be treated with dignity;
  • right to reasonable accommodation;
  • right to participate in planning care and treatment and any changes in care and treatment;
  • right to informed consent in language patient can understand;
  • right to refuse treatment;
  • right of family and Ombudsman to immediately access resident and have reasonable access to facility;
  • right to privacy, confidentiality, and visitors;
  • right to not be transferred unless necessary to meet residents’ needs, resident no longer requires care, safety of others is endangered, resident has failed to make own payments, or facility no longer operates;
  • right to readmission;
  • right to appeal hearings;
  • right to have necessary care and services for highest practicable well-being;
  • right to have adequate number of personnel;
  • and, various rights respecting the residents’ financial matters and need for proper notice and information.

If you feel that one or more of these rights have been violated, the Ombudsman can assist you with your complaint. It is important to note that the Ombudsman is bound to the ethics of his profession to keep all matters confidential and can not share information regarding a complaint with a retained attorney unless given permission by the complainant.

In your complaint is related to an injury sustained due to negligence, you should also contact an attorney to discuss the matter. Visit the Medical Malpractice section of our website for more information.

The State Office for the Aging (SOFA) employs an ombudsman in each county of New York State. For more information, The State Office for the Aging can be reached at 1-800-342-9871 or visit

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