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OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM

The mission of the Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is to serve as an advocate for older persons who are receiving long-term care services, whether it be in a long-term care facility, the community, or their own homes.

The Ombudsman Program serves as a point of entry whereby complaints made by or on behalf of older persons in long-term care facilities, or those receiving long-term care services in the community, can be received, investigated and resolved. In addition, the Ombudsman Program identifies problems and concerns of older persons receiving long-term care services and recommends changes in the long-term care system, which benefits the individuals as a group.

The Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging (V4A), through a contract with the Virginia Department for the Aging operates the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The V4A is a private non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the needs of older Virginians through its 25 member area agencies on aging.

The Ombudsman Program was established in 1979 as a requirement of the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended, to improve the quality of care in American's long-term care facilities. The Program's responsibilities were expanded in 1983 by the Virginia General Assembly to include responding to complaints involving community based long-term care services provided by the Department of Health, Social Services, and Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services, the area agencies on aging or non-profit or propriety agency.

A major component of the Ombudsman Program involves educating consumers of long-term care service about their rights and how to advocate on their own behalf when they have a problem or concern. The program operates statewide toll-free telephone number (1-800-552-3402) to assist individuals requesting information or filing a complaint.

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is a resource for information and counseling for Virginia's citizens regarding institutional and community based long-term care options, and general issues and concerns affecting the elderly. The program works to develop and disseminate information about long-term care services and issues through presentations, written materials, and by contributing to public forums, conferences, and committees dealing with issues impacting the older long-term care consumer.

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program works closely with other consumer advocacy programs, regulatory agencies and providers to promote the empowerment and autonomy of older persons, and the resolution of complaints. The goal of this coordination is to help people understand their rights, exercise choices, and ensure quality long-term care services.

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For more information contact:

Serena Roberts, Ombudsman
Email:  sroberts@lcaaa.org
or

Lake Country Area Agency on Aging
1105 West Danville St.
South Hill, Virginia 23970

Phone (434) 447-7661 - Fax (434) 447-4074
Toll Free 1-800-252-4464 (Within VA.)
E-Mail: lakecaaa@lcaaa.org