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Sizing Up Assisted Living: An Examination of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Complaint Data

July 31, 2018

Long-term care ombudsmen are resident advocates who receive, investigate, and resolve complaints relating to quality of care and violations of resident rights in assisted living (AL). More research is needed to understand systemic differences in source, type, and number of ombudsman complaints in AL. Ombudsman complaint data (n = 5,705 complaints) in small, medium, and large ALs in Dallas, Texas were analyzed using proportion Z tests. Findings suggest that all facilities had a high number of environmental complaints. Compared to larger facilities, small ALs have a disproportionately high number of complaints, a significantly higher number of complaints related to access to information, visitors, and ombudsmen, lower number of complaints related to care and staffing, family are less likely to complain, and residents are least likely to voice concerns. We recommend strategies for ombudsmen and AL providers to better meet residents’ needs. We conclude with a call to action underscoring the increasing importance of the role of the ombudsman in AL.

The lead author of this article was Karen Magruder, Staff Ombudsman, The Senior Source, Dallas County, Texas LTCOP

Read the article here.