Long-Term Care Ombudsmen

Educating, Empowering and Advocating for Long-Term Care Residents


The Ombudsman Program is an advocacy resource for older adults and people with disabilities who live in nursing homes, assisted living, and other licensed adult care homes. Ombudsmen help residents understand and exercise their rights to quality care in an environment that promotes and protects their dignity and quality of life.

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program operates under the authority of Older Americans Act (Title VII, Chapter 2, Sections 711/712). Ombudsman is a Scandinavian term that means “Resident Advocate”.

Ombudsman Program

  • Investigates and works to resolve residents’ problems and complaints.
  • Educates and provides information, referral and consultation to residents, families, facility staff, and community about issues in long-term care.
  • Provides information to the public on nursing homes, assisted living facilities, residents’ rights, and policy issues.
  • Protects the identity of residents and of individuals who make complaints.

Quick Links

Contact the Calvert County Ombudsman Program

Click on the resources below to open and close the information for each topic:

What is a nursing home
Nursing homes provide what is called custodial care, providing help getting in and out of bed, and assistance with feeding, bathing, and dressing. Skilled nursing care is available on site, 24 hours a day.

A nursing home is normally the highest level of care for older adults outside of a hospital. However, nursing homes differ from other senior housing facilities in that they also provide a high level of medical care. A licensed physician supervises each patient’s care and a nurse or other medical professional is always on the premises. 

How do I choose a nursing facility?

How do I find/compare nursing homes?

 What is the nursing home admissions process?
Each facility operates slightly different. For this reason, it is recommended that a person contact the facility to speak with the admissions staff to understand if there is a bed available and what the process looks like for that specific facility. 

How do I pay for nursing home?

For specific questions about Medicaid eligibility, contact Calvert County Department of Social Service Long-Term Care & Foster Care Medicaid Coordinator at 443-550-6900 or visit their website.

How do I make a complaint if something isn’t going well at the facility?
You can make a complaint about a facility in a few ways. You can make a complaint to the facility directly, reach out to your local Ombudsman, or you can make a complaint directly to the Office of Health Care Quality.

What if the facility tries to discharge me?

What are the rights of residents in nursing homes? 
The 1987 Federal Nursing Home Reform Law required nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident.” Every nursing home resident should have a dignified existence, and the resident rights are written to help ensure that they do. To see the specific rights, please refer to the following websites:

What is a care plan meeting?
A care planning conference is a meeting where staff and residents/families talk about life in the facility-- meals, activities, therapies, personal schedule, medical and nursing care, and emotional needs. Residents/families can bring up problems, ask questions, or offer information to help staff provide care. All staff who work with a resident should be involved--nursing assistants, nurse, physician, social worker, activities staff, dietician, occupational and physical therapists. 

Care planning meetings must occur every three months, and whenever there is a big change in a resident's physical or mental health that might require a change in care.

What are Family and Resident Councils?
The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act guarantees nursing home residents and their families important rights that enhance the nursing home experience and improve family services and conditions.

According to section 483.10(f)(5) of the Code of Federal Regulations, residents and family members have the right to hold private meetings as a group, known as Family or Resident Councils. Federal law references families of residents may participate in a Family Council, but this can also include sponsors such as close friends of residents.

Family Council- A Family Council is a self-led, self-determining group of consumers - families and friends of nursing home residents that:

  • Works to improve the quality of care and quality of life of the facility’s residents.
  • Provides families with a voice in decision-making that affects them and their loved ones. 

Resident CouncilResident Councils are organized, self-governing, decision-making groups of long-term care residents meeting regularly to voice their needs and concerns and to have input into the activities, policies, and issues affecting their lives in the facility.

Find more information on Family and Resident Councils (PDF) 

What is the survey process for nursing homes?  
A survey is a compilation of deficiencies (violations of the regulations) completed by Maryland State surveyors on an annual basis. The survey can be used as a measuring tool for quality care, but should not be relied on without additional information. A smart consumer will look at the deficiency reports and ask questions about how those issues have been corrected. Deficiencies are ranked in severity from "no harm" to "actual harm". Do not just look at the number of deficiencies - always consider the severity.

You can view results from recent surveys by searching for a facility and looking at the start ratings as well as broken down sections about staffing, resident satisfaction etc.