Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Investigation and Complaint Log
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program serves as an advocacy group where consumers of long-term care or their representative can voice their concerns and have their complaints addressed. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman investigates and works to resolve concerns through confidential complaint counseling, investigation, negotiation based on Residents' Rights advocacy, and works toward a solution involving all parties expressing the resident's concerns, issues, and expectations. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is not a licensing/regulatory agency, but may work together with a licensing/regulatory agency.
A complaint investigation requires a signed waiver of rights to confidentiality and permits the Long-Term Care Ombudsman to review records and to discuss the individual concerns. Anonymous complaints are accepted, but may limit the scope of the investigation. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman obtains facts and relevant information to determine if the grievance is valid and has up to 45 working days to complete the investigation. Complaint investigations are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program does not rate or recommend nursing facilities or assisted living facilities. The program provides information and counseling on long-term care related topics, including selection, Residents' Rights, and issues related to residents' quality of care and life.
When selecting a long-term care facility, it is best to visit the facilities being considered at least twice and ask questions of staff, residents and families. The resident should be included in the decision process, if possible. For more helpful tips, see Tips for Advocates.
Once a consumer has narrowed the choices, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program can provide non-identifying general information regarding complaints which the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program has investigated at a specific facility during the previous year.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program complaint investigations are the result of concerns made by, or on behalf of, residents or from facility visits by the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program staff. Complaint counseling is kept confidential. Long-Term Care Ombudsmen investigate to gather facts about a complaint in order to work to resolve the problem for a resident or group of residents.
The complaints on the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Complaint Log represent the complainant’s concerns. The complaint codes are set at the Federal level by the Administration on Aging for the Ombudsman Program. These complaint codes and a description of each code can be found at this link: Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Complaint Codes. A verified complaint does not necessarily imply a violation of any regulatory standard. The Complaint Log should be only one criterion of many to be considered while selecting a long-term care facility. Please note that the complaint categories are determined by the expressed concerns of the complainant. Resolution outcomes are also determined by the complainant, not the Ombudsman.
Possible categories of findings include:
- Verified: It was determined that the circumstances described in the complaint are substantiated or generally accurate.
- Not Verified: It is determined after a formal investigation that the circumstances described in the complaint could not be substantiated.
Possible categories of resolution include:
- "Resolved" means that the complaint/problem was addressed to the satisfaction of the resident or complainant.
- "Not resolved" means that the complaint/problem was not addressed to the satisfaction of the resident or complainant.
- "Partially resolved" means that the complaint was partially resolved to the satisfaction of the resident or complainant, but some problem remained.
- "Withdrawn" by the resident or complainant.
- Referred to other agency for resolution. The final disposition may not have been obtained or the other agency failed to act.
It is recommended that consumers who wish to use this information as part of their decision process call the Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at 703-324-5861, TTY 711 to discuss the Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Complaint Log and any questions they may have about long-term care facilities.