What Is an Ombudsman in Health Care?


What Is an Ombudsman in Health Care?

what is an ombudsman in health care

Ombudsmen provide advocates and resources for long term care residents (older adults and people living with disabilities in nursing homes, assisted living communities or family home care) ensuring their rights aren’t infringed upon. Their role is to listen, investigate and work towards finding resolution for resident complaints when possible; alternatively they refer such issues directly to appropriate agencies when resolution cannot be found through them.

Our research employed a qualitative approach with interviews of 44 users who reported their experiences to the Health Ombudsman between May and August of 2010. For inclusion, they must have provided statements in person, by telephone or letter; this criterion allows us to gain an in-depth knowledge of how the Health Ombudsman functions within public health system.

Interviewees generally recognized the Ombudsman’s function of overseeing public administration according to Law 8142/90 as part of social control; citizens can make statements or attend Health Council meetings and make their voices heard while contributing to planning, executing and monitoring public policies.

Health ombudsmen were widely acknowledged for contributing to greater transparency regarding SUS functioning and procedures through providing information, as pointed out by counselors when explaining how these ombudsmen supported access to Brazil’s Unified Health System (BUS).

Ombudsmen provide additional assistance to citizens by mediating between users and institutions that receive their statements to find an agreement on resolution of an issue. Counselors deem this a significant benefit of an Ombudsman because it allows users to resolve problems through other parties that understand SUS rules.

Ombudsmen programs provide residents of long term care facilities with an invaluable way of empowering themselves; becoming their own advocate and becoming aware of their rights is one of many benefits of such an ombudsman program. Through such empowerment comes improved quality of life in long term care facilities while protecting from abuse or neglect – something sorely needed today in our society and essential to providing all patients with quality of care that meets our standard of excellence.

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