State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
The Colorado Long-Term Care Ombudsman is a statewide advocacy program for residents of long-term care facilities. The State Ombudsman office is located at The Legal Center and operates through a contract with the Aging and Adult Services Division of The Department of Human Services. There are 16 local programs that operate within or in conjunction with the Regional Area Agency on Aging. The program is authorized by state and federal law to investigate complaints made by (and on behalf of) residents of long-term care facilities.
Colorado has 50 full- and part-time paid ombudsmen (the full-time equivalent of 32.03) and 84 certified volunteer ombudsmen who strive to improve the quality of life for more than 36,000 older adults in long-term care. Colorado has 214 nursing facilities with a total of 19,920 beds and 571 assisted living residences with a total of 16,275 beds. Colorado’s certified volunteer ombudsmen logged a total of 8,433 hours at an hourly value of $21.36 (2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate). This represents a contribution of $180,128, especially valuable in light of the state’s economic difficulties.
Colorado’s local ombudsmen:
• Made 5,908 visits to assisted living residences and 5,095 visits to nursing homes - more than twice the required number of visits. Colorado requires each nursing home to be visited by an ombudsman at least monthly and each assisted living residence at least quarterly.
• Completed 5,612 consultations with individuals, up 11% over 2010.
• Participated in 334 nursing home and assisted living surveys conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
• Conducted 4,368 consultations with facility staff.
• Conducted 622 community education sessions on residents’ rights, the role of the ombudsman, how to choose a long-term care facility and state and federal regulation of long-term care facilities.
• Led 186 training sessions for volunteer and staff ombudsmen.
• Hosted 169 training sessions for facility staff.
• Attended 1,678 resident council meetings and 112 family council meetings.
• Investigated 4,501 complaints, 76% of which were fully or partially resolved to the satisfaction of the resident.
Help resolve complaints about the facility or individual staff members, such as
• physical or verbal abuse
• poor quality of care
Help protect residents’ rights under the law—including the right to
• privacy in care and treatment
• voice grievances without retaliation
Help older adults
• understand their options for long-term care
• choose the long-term care facility or community living arrangement that is right for them
The Division of Aging and Adult Services provides oversight for and coordination of programs that allow the elderly to live independently. These programs are administered through the County Departments of Social (Human) Services or through regional Area Agencies on Aging. For more information about the Division of Aging and Adult Services, click here.
Contact the State Ombudsman, or search for your regional (by county) ombudsman:
Colorado State Ombudsman
The Legal Center for People with Disabilities and Older People
455 Sherman Street, Suite 130
Denver, CO 80203
Begin your search by checking out the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid website.
This website has important information that could help you choose a nursing home. Take time to look at Nursing Home Compare and call your local ombudsman to listen to what they have to say about nursing home facilities. Information about the quality of care in nursing homes in your area is available by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or by visiting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid website.
In Colorado, the Health Facilities Division of the State Department of Public Health and Environment assures patients and residents receive quality care.
Colorado's laws establishing Mandatory Reporting of Abuse and Exploitation of At-Risk Elders became effective on July 1, 2014. The two acts (SB13-111 and SB14-098) require certain professionals (and their staff and volunteers) to report elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. Any mandatory reporter who OBSERVES the abuse, neclect or exploitation of a person who is 70 years of age or older (an "at-risk" elder) OR has reasonable cause to believe that an at-risk elder has been abused, neglected or financially exploited MUST report the abuse to police or local law enforcement within 24-hours after making the observation or discovery of abuse. The mandatory reporter who makes a report in good faith will be immune from civil or criminal liability. However, willful failure to report OR filing a FALSE report can be prosecuted under the new law.
Mandatory reporters include: health care professionals, pharmacists, psychologists and mental health care providers, social workers, long-term care providers, care facility staff, home health providers, clergy members, law enforcement officials and personnel, court-appointed guardians and conservators and personnel of banks and other financial institutions.
For more information go to http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDHS-VetDis/CBON/1251649998057