The Ombudsman: Your Advocate for Nursing Home Problems
At Brown & Barron, our mission is to restore justice for members of our community, regardless of whether they are clients. One of the ways we accomplish this is by helping to educate our neighbors on their rights, as well as all of the resources that are there to support them. One such resource is the Maryland Ombudsman Program, a valuable advocate for issues pertaining to long-term care (LTC) facilities, including nursing homes, board/care homes, and assisted-living facilities.
What’s an Ombudsman?
An ombudsman (pronounced: ahm-BUDDZ-min) is an advocate – think of them as a very helpful friend – for the residents of nursing homes. The ombudsman is a civil servant, often a volunteer, who is trained to resolve problems related to the health, safety, welfare, and rights of individuals who live in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. The services provided by the ombudsman are free and confidential. The LTC Ombudsman Program was enacted with the Older Americans Act of 1965 and is administered at the state level by the Maryland Administration on Aging.
What Services Does the Ombudsman Provide?
An ombudsman can help to investigate and resolve issues large and small, and they do so with the help of the resident or on their behalf. They can keep the resident's name confidential if they so choose. A law firm that specializes in nursing home abuse or neglect, like Brown & Barron, can help you with situations that result in serious injuries or even death, but an ombudsman can help you with a variety of important issues that affect the quality of life at a nursing home, including:
- Poor staff attitudes: help address situations where the residents are not being treated appropriately or with dignity and respect.
- Food/nutrition: help improve the quality and variety of the food served at a nursing home.
- Lack of responsiveness (call bells, etc.) help address situations where the staff are not answering when called or not responding fast enough.
- Personal hygiene (hair and nail care, etc.) help to make sure that grooming, such as hair and nails, are done well and with regularity.
Who can contact a Maryland Ombudsman?
Residents of a nursing home or members of their support system (friends, family members, facility staff, and others) can contact the Maryland Ombudsman Program to communicate concerns related to long-term care facilities and to ensure residents receive the quality of care they deserve. You do not need a legal connection (e.g., power of attorney) to the resident to get help from an ombudsman.
How Do I Contact an Ombudsman?
Contact your local ombudsman at the phone number below for the county in which the resident currently resides.
County: Phone Number
Allegany County: 301-777-5970
Anne Arundel County: 410-222-4464
Baltimore City 410-396-3144
Baltimore County: 410-887-4200
Calvert County: 410-535-4606, ext. 122
Caroline County: 410-778-6000
Carroll County: 410-386-3800
Cecil County: 410-996-8429
Charles County: 301-932-6004
Dorchester County: 410-742-0505, ext. 104
Frederick County: 301-600-2877
Garrett County: 301-334-9431
Harford County: 410-638-3025
Howard County: 410-313-6423
Kent County: 410-778-6000
Montgomery County: 240-777-3369
Prince George’s County: 301-265-8483
Queen Anne’s County: 410-758-0848
Somerset County: 410-742-0505, ext. 104
St. Mary’s County: 301-475-4200
Talbot County: 410-778-6000
Washington County: 301-790-0275