Ombudsman Program


Ombudsman - defined in Webster's Riverside Dictionary as: ''one who investigates complaints, as from consumers, and assists in achieving fair settlements.''


Ombudsman Program

Ombudsman Program staff and certified volunteers work in nursing homes, adult family homes and boarding homes.

Certified Ombudsmen are a listening ear and a voice for residents of long-term care settings. Ombudsmen educate residents, staff, families and the community about long-term care issues, resources, resident rights and quality of life in long-term care.

Philosophy of the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

  • Advocate for the rights of residents
  • Receive, investigate and resolve concerns of the resident concerning the quality of life in the long-term care setting
  • Monitor laws, regulations and policies which impact long-term care residents
  • Provide information to the public concerning long-term care setting
  • Promote the development of consumer organizations concerned with long-term care facilities

Functions of the Ombudsman

  • Team member working with staff and residents for quality care and quality of life for the residents
  • Member of quality improvement teams, pointing out successes as well as areas that need additional work and resources
  • Speaker for those residents who are unable to speak for themselves
  • Advocate for resident choices
  • Negotiator, helping to come to workable solutions to problems, involving the resident as an adult with a valid point of view
  • Speaker for the resident's choice - there are as many 'right' answers as there are people involved
  • Resource for facilities in a proactive manner - working with staff to develop policies and to address areas of potential conflict
    • i.e., what is the best approach to contracts, statements of resident rights and establishing a resident council


A certified ombudsman is assigned to visit with residents in long term care facilities. Each volunteer receives extensive training before being assigned. Frequent in-service training is scheduled during regularly held monthly meetings. In addition, the ombudsman is informed as to other training available in the area and is encouraged to attend.

The office of the Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman (Pierce County) can be reached at:
Visit the Washington State Long Term Care Ombudsman website. Contact the state office at 1 (800) 562-6028 or by email.

To apply to become a Long Term Care Ombudsman Volunteer, please call (253) 798-3789.


Applications are currently being accepted Long Term Care Ombudsman for Piece County's Aging and Disabilities Resources unit.

Long Term Care Ombudsmen serve as advocates and impartial facilitators for residents of nursing homes, adult family homes and boarding homes in the community.

After receiving orientation and training, each new volunteer is awarded with a certificate, and is assigned to visit with residents in nursing homes, boarding homes and adult family homes near where the ombudsman lives or works.

Each ombudsman is asked to give four hours per week to the program, and the reward each volunteer receives through relationships with the residents and other volunteers is immeasurable.

For more information, contact the Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman (Pierce County) at (253) 798-3789.

Upcoming Classes

Classes for prospective Ombudsmen are provided on a regular basis. They involve visits at representative long term care facilities and three all-day classes.

All new volunteers are required to attend the visits and all three class sessions.

Contact the Ombudsman office to reserve your place. Call (253) 798-3789.

Ombudsman Advisory Council

The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program works in conjunction with its advisory council. This council assists by reviewing program issues and making recommendations on how the program staff and volunteers should proceed.

The Long Term Care Ombudsman Advisory Council comprises members from various service agencies, long-term care providers, community members and a liaison from the Pierce County Aging and Disabilities Resources Advisory Board.

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