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Washington Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers to Consult About the Ombudsman Program

By reports@rankings.ioApril 29, 2024May 1st, 2024No Comments
An elderly woman sits in her nursing home room, holding onto a quad cane for support. Her hands, weathered with age, gently grasp the metal handle.

When you place your loved one in a nursing home or go to live in an assisted living facility yourself, you expect proper care to be provided. Unfortunately, many facilities are understaffed, and the caregiving staff may be overworked and inadequately trained. Nursing home neglect and abuse are tragically common, and it’s important, if you love someone in a nursing home, to be alert to signs. In some instances, nursing home residents or their loved ones need the services of the Washington State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. This program advocates for nursing home and assisted living facility residents in the state and promotes their rights under federal and state laws. If you suspect that your loved one was neglected or abused in a long-term nursing facility, you should not only contact the Office of the Long-term Care Ombudsman, but also the trustworthy Bellingham, WA nursing home neglect lawyers of Walton Law. Our founder Chris Walton is an award-winning trial attorney, and our firm works hard to provide personalized legal representation.

Washington State Long-term Care Ombudsman

The federal Older Americans Act requires each state to have an Office of the Long-term Care Ombudsman. The office in Washington, operated by the Multi-Service Center, is created under the mandates of RCW 43.190. Their mission is to address complaints and advocate for improvements for residents within the long-term care system. To fulfill this mission, the ombudsman program follows duties set forth under WAC 365.18.060:

  • It identifies, investigates, and resolves complaints related to actions or decisions that could adversely affect residents or that are made by a resident’s residents, associates or friends or providers and their representatives, along with those decisions made by governmental agencies or guardians.
  • It coordinates with local and state agencies to develop referral procedures to refer complaints as need be to agencies. The referrals have to conform to Washington laws about the information to be provided and confidentiality.
  • It serves to help residents and representatives guard the residents’ safety and health.
  • It lets residents and representatives know about their rights and how to get services.
  • It ensures that residents and representatives receive timely, regular access to the program’s services, while also securing their privacy.

The Office can also research and advocate for the dignity and quality of life of the elderly before the legislature to make sure they are properly cared for. The program monitors state agencies as they manage inspections and licensing and investigate complaints in the course of their work.

Talking to the Ombudsman Program

An isometric nursing home horizontal background depicts an indoor scene within a seniors' complex room, bustling with activity and warmth. Many different interested parties can seek out the assistance of ombudsman program. You may be able to access these free advocacy services if you are involved in the long-term care system in Washington state and you are:

  • The resident of a nursing home, adult family home, veteran’s home, or assisted living facility
  • The relative or friend of someone in such a facility
  • An employee or administrator of one of these facilities
  • A person or group concerned about a resident’s welfare in a facility
  • A community member.

Once apprised of the situation you’re contacting the office about, an advocate from the office can speak directly to the nursing home or facility on your behalf, file a written grievance, voice your concerns at a resident council meeting, provide advice and help.

You can report the circumstances of your particular concern on the DSHS Complaint Hotline at 1-800-562-6078. DSHS will return calls; you do have the ability to stay anonymous to the entities.

Nursing Home Litigation

Sadly, in some cases, it is not possible to resolve a dispute with a nursing home about your own or a loved one’s care informally or through the program. In that case, it is crucial to seek legal counsel to determine whether you have grounds to bring a nursing home neglect or abuse lawsuit for damages. This would be appropriate, for instance, if you discovered that a nursing home was not providing your elderly mother with medical treatment for her bedsores or that an assisted living facility was using chemical restraints on your father, thereby placing him at risk of further health problems.

Consult a Trustworthy Washington Nursing Home Negligence Attorney

The Ombudsman Program is an important advocate for the elderly and other vulnerable adults whose care has been entrusted to a long-term care facility. However, it may also be important to consult a seasoned Washington personal injury lawyer to determine whether you have a claim against the nursing home or other facility. Call Walton Law directly at (866) 338-7079 or submit your inquiry by completing our online form.