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The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The Long Term Care Ombudsman program (LTCOP), established in all states under the Older Americans Act (Title 7), works on behalf of residents in long term care facilities and Assisted Living facilities.  The Montana LTCOP is authorized by and acts in accordance with the federal Older Americans Act, 42 U.S.C., Section 3001 et esq. and Title 50, Chapter 5, Montana Codes Annotated. Montana currently has 83 Nursing homes, 46 Critical Access Hospitals with skilled nursing beds and 203 Assisted Living facilities.

In Montana, all Ombudsmen must attend and pass a 45-hour training course in order to be certified as an Ombudsman.  There is one full-time State Ombudsman, an Assistant State Ombudsman, 3 full-time Regional Ombudsman and approximately 31 certified Local Ombudsman throughout the State.  The Regional and Local Ombudsmen are employed by the Area Agencies on Aging or the County Council on Aging.

Ombudsmen help residents and their families and friends understand and exercise the rights they are guaranteed by law, both at the federal and the state level.  Resident rights are defined in the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 [42 CFR 483.10] and in Montana statute. [50-5-1104 Montana Codes Annotated]

Ombudsman Duties as Outlined in Title VII of the Older Americans Act:

  • Help resolve problems or complaints faced by people living in Assisted Living facilities or in Long Term Care facilities
  • Provide information to residents about long-term care services
  • Represent the interests of residents before various agencies to seek administrative, legal and other remedies to protect residents
  • Provide education about resident rights and good care practices
  • Provide technical support for the development of resident and family councils
  • Advocate for changes to improve residents' quality of life and care
  • Promote community involvement through volunteer opportunities
  • Address improper transfer and/or discharges of residents
  • Investigate allegations of physical, verbal or emotional abuse in long-term care facilities
  • Provide information to the public on nursing homes and assisted living facilities
  • Address any resident or family/legal representative concern about quality of life
  • Educate and inform consumers and the general public regarding issues and concerns related to long term care

Resident's Rights

Resident's rights are defined in the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 [42 CFR 483.10] and in Montana State Statutes. (Montana Long-Term Care Resident's Bill of Rights, Title 50, Chapter 5, Montana Codes Annotated).

Residents have these rights, including, but not limited to:

  • Be treated with dignity and respect
  • Be fully informed prior to admission of their rights, services available and all charges
  • Be transferred or discharged against your wishes only for specified reasons provided by law; be given at least 30 days written notification of such moves outside the facility; and be informed of your appeal and readmission rights
  • Be fully informed by a physician of your medical condition; to be given the opportunity to participate in the planning of your medical treatment
  • Be free from chemical and physical restraint
  • Voice grievances without fear of retaliation
  • Send and receive personal mail
  • Be assured privacy for visits by your spouse or be permitted to share a room with your spouse if she/he is also a resident
  • Associate and communicate privately with any person of their choice
  • Access to an Ombudsman
  • Have personal and medical records kept confidential
  • File a complaint or recommend changes in policies and services for yourself or others to the resident council, facility staff and/or outside representatives to be free from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal; and to be informed by the facility of the outcome of any complaints presented; or to ask a state agency or Ombudsman for assistance in resolving grievances
  • Examine the results of the most recent state or federal inspection of the facility and any plan of correction

For More Information Contact:

The State Long Term Care Ombudsman
Office on Aging, Senior and Long Term Care Division
1-800-332-2272 (Note: This Help Line is only available during normal business hours. For all emergencies, call 911)

Your Regional or Local Ombudsman
Area Agency on Aging
1-800-551-3191 (Note: This Help Line is only available during normal business hours. For all emergencies, call 911)