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Aging: Long-Term Care Ombudsman

The long-term care ombudsman service is for adults aged 60 or older. An ombudsman responds to issues and complaints from people who:

Ombudsman definition

The word ombudsman (om-budz-man) means “helper” or “advocate.” A long-term care ombudsman is a person who works with others to:

  • Give helpful information about long-term care services and supports.
  • Look into and resolve problems.
  • Offer referrals and consultations.
  • Improve quality of care in long-term facilities and programs. This happens by working with providers, regulators, adult protective services, and aging and disability resource centers.

How an ombudsman can help

An ombudsman can help older adults with concerns and problems related to their rights as a long-term care resident or consumer. This includes:

  • Quality of life and quality of care.
  • Privacy in care and visits.
  • Choice over care or treatment
  • Freedom from abuse and neglect.
  • Freedom from physical or chemical restraints.
  • Appeals and grievances.
  • Starting a resident or family council.
  • Denial of long-term care supports and services.
  • Problems with a guardian or power of attorney agent.
  • Issues related to transfer or discharge.

An ombudsman can answer questions, such as:

  • When I call an ombudsman, is it confidential?
  • Do residents have the right to refuse treatment?
  • Who is my advocate if I am less than 60 years old?
  • How do I find the right community-based services?
  • What are some differences between assisted living and nursing homes?
  • What is the role of a power of attorney agent or guardian?

Contact an ombudsman in Wisconsin

The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is through the Wisconsin Board on Aging & Long Term Care. This is an independent Board of the State of Wisconsin.

Contact the Ombudsman Program at:

Board on Aging & Long Term Care
1402 Pankratz St., Suite 111
Madison, WI 53704-4001

800-815-0015 (toll-free)
608-246-7001 (fax)

Note: There’s also an ombudsman program for people ages 18–59. It’s through Disability Rights Wisconsin.


Last revised July 20, 2022