Certified Local Ombudsman Program (CLO)
Area II Agency on Aging has Ombudsmen covering Big, Horn, Carbon, Fergus, Golden Valley, Judith Valley, Musselshell, Petroleum, Stillwater, Sweetgrass, Wheatland and Yellowstone Counties.
To locate the Ombudsman nearest you, please call Area II at 1-800-551-3191 or 1-406-323-1320.
What is an Ombudsman?
The term “ombudsman” originated in Sweden. Initially the ombudsman acted as an impartial mediator between the government and the people, explaining policy, sharing information, and acting on behalf of both the government and people. Today, an ombudsman acts as an advocate for residents residing in long-term care facilities, assisted-living facilities and personal care homes. They visit facilities on a regular basis, meeting with residents, their families and resident councils.
Ombudsmen have a unique role that requires impartiality in gathering information about problems or complaints and advocacy skills in resolving those problems. They must objectively determine the validity of complaints, gather information to have an accurate understanding of the problem, and be able to plan a resolution strategy.
The ombudsman’s primary role is to help residents help themselves. Whenever possible, they assist the resident in developing specific strategies to address problems. These strategies may include mediating or negotiating with the facility’s staff, working with a resident council, getting a group of residents with similar concerns together to work on a problem, or filing a complaint on behalf of the resident. Ombudsmen may speak on behalf of the resident or family if conditions require it.