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What are their qualifications? What do they do? Who do they report to? I am in NC.

They would normally cover one area or life, and are a level of authority members of the public can go to for assistance if they have been through the complaints procedure of a company or organisation and not got satisfaction. They are like an external super complaints department. What powers they have varies usually with the area of left they cover, they can report people to governing authorities to deal with them, issue fines, demand paperwork and apologies - its hard to describe but they have powers to penalise if necessary without getting as far as the court system.
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We have an ombudsperson where I work and they help mediate between departments such as HR and staff members that are having issues. In the case of elder care they would mediate between you and lawyers, APS and other agencies in regards to unfair treatment or decisions about your loved ones while they are in a facility or getting services like Home Health Care. Usually ombudspersons will have a degree in Psychology, Family Science, Social work or other fields relating to older adults. They usually know the laws and resources to help advocate for you or your loved ones. Before you or your loved one go "up the chain" they can give you advice or share resources that can help you understand what's going to happen.
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Margaret is in Australia so there may be a different familiar function there.

In the realm of long term elder care, In the US they work for the Area Agency for Aging and deal solely with the elderly and specifically with facilities. Each ombudsmen has a number of facilities that come under their purview. They are advocates for the residents of facilities.

https://ltcombudsman.org/about/about-ombudsman
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MargaretMcKen Dec 8, 2021
Thanks, yes it is different even though the same word and similar though specialised function. I posted because here, people sometimes think that the ombudsman is some sort of general complaint solver. Yours, Margaret
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Not quite...the Ombudsman is an officer that investigates ‘unfair decisions’ by public servants. That can include bodies regulated by laws or regulations, but it isn’t a free-for-all complaints investigation service. That’s the law – and the law has real problems dealing with the ‘unfair decisions by public servants’. So they are different, and you need to know which is appropriate. However Ombudsman offices usually have a free service from people who will tell you if they are appropriate to help. Lawyers often charge!
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MargaretMcKen Dec 8, 2021
I got this wrong, Margaret
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Here is the site you want for your state.
Almost anything like this today is at your fingertips online.

https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/aging-and-adult-services/long-term-care-ombudsman-advocacy-residents-long-term-care-facilities

Basically the Ombudsman is an official appointed to respond to and/or investigate accusations against a regulated Nursing Home within that State.
Wishing you good luck. There are many definitions online of education, licensure requirements, and duties.
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gladimhere Nov 30, 2021
Thanks for finding that Barb, I was about to search for the same.

Short answer - advocates for residents of long term care facilities employed by the government, so impartial.
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