Long Term Care Resident Advocacy

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) serves as an effective advocate and resource for older adults and persons with disabilities who live in nursing homes, assisted living, and other licensed adult care homes. Mandated under the Older Americans Act, the New York LTCOP oversees 15 regional LTCOPs.


People Inc. hosts the Region 15 program and serves Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara Counties. The Center for Elder Law & Justice is proud to partner with People Inc. as the programs legal liaison, “in-house” legal support, for the program and volunteers. If you or a loved one would benefit from the support of our ombudsman program, contact us!

Below are some guides for residents and their families to help navigate issues regarding long term care. Please note that these are provided for informational purposes only and their use does not constitute an attorney-client relationship, nor is it legal advice.


Residents Right to Access Records Guide (View)

Health Care Proxy & Capacity Guide (View)

Adult Care Facility: Termination of Residence Guide (View)

Nursing Home Transfer-Discharge Guide (View)



Interested in becoming an Ombudsman volunteer? Ombudsmen provide compassion and problem-solving skills as they investigate concerns brought by or on behalf of residents and work to improve the quality of care and quality of life for the residents. In order to become an ombudsman, volunteers need to go through a free certification course that is hosted by People Inc. For information on how to become an ombudsman volunteer, kindly contact Susan Fenster, Coordinator, NYS Region 15 Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, at 716-817-9222.

Are you interested in volunteering as a Long Term Care Ombudsman? There are two upcoming training sessions scheduled for the program: May 22nd-24th in Jamestown and June 11th-13th in Buffalo/Amherst. Call 716.817.9222 for more information!






The ombudsmen in the program are professionally trained and certified volunteer advocates. These advocates investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents; promote the development of resident and family councils; and inform government agencies, providers and the general public about issues and concerns impacting residents of long-term care facilities with a goal of effecting systems-level change.

How do I know who the ombudsman is in my nursing home or assisted living facility?

Anyone who has questions or concerns pertaining to the care/treatment in a nursing home or assisted living facility can contact the Ombudsman program. For nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara Counties, please contact People Inc. at 716-817-9222. For inquiries outside our covered counties, please contact the State LTCOP program at 1-855-582-6769.

Will the LTCOP help me sue a nursing home or assisted living facility?

No. Ombudsmen work to promote and protect the rights of nursing home and assisted living residents. Ombudsman work with residents, their family, facilities, and other interested parties to address concerns of nursing home and assisted living residents. Ombudsman investigate and resolve complaints, educate residents and facility staff on resident rights, and advocate for quality care. In situations where the Ombudsman is unable to resolve a resident complaint, the LTCOP will link the resident to the appropriate resource for further assistance.

What kinds of problems do ombudsmen respond to?

Ombudsmen respond to any concern, complaint, or problem a resident may have. Common problems include: quality of care, visitation rights, food, and resident rights. Confidentiality is the cornerstone of the LTCOP and all resident concerns, complaints, or problems remain confidential unless the resident consents to disclosure.

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