What is a Nursing Home Ombudsman? What Do They Do? Information for Kansas and Missouri Seniors and Their Families in Nursing Homes.

An ombudsman is a person who acts as a mediator between two parties, typically to resolve a dispute. The term is Swedish in origin and means “speaking on behalf of another.” In the United States, ombudsmen are appointed by government agencies or businesses to investigate complaints and attempt to resolve them. 

According to the Missouri Ombudsman website, the role of an ombudsman is to be a facilitator, educator, broker, intermediary, collaborator, mediator, advocate, investigator, problem solver, and activist. The Missouri ombudsman volunteer in nursing homes and other residential facilities to help the residents with any issues that they are having. In Missouri, the qualifications are to have good listening and communication skills. The State wants you to be objective, sensitive, diplomatic, and reliable. You must complete a minimum of 20 hours of training. They want you to have transportation, and you must pass a background screening. You can volunteer by completing the ombudsman form or calling (800) 309-3282. 

Many nursing home residents are scared to speak to the Ombudsman for fear of retaliation by the Staff. The Ombudsman is there to talk to you & for you. Don’t be afraid. After the Ombudsman has consulted with you, you will be given the option of whether or not they can advocate for you to the Staff. You can say YES or NO. It is your choice. 

The Kansas Ombudsman program has its volunteers advocate for the residents. The Ombudsman can help by resolving issues that the residents have spoken to them about. They also inform residents of their rights and give information and support to the residents and their families. In Kansas, the people who can volunteer to be ombudsmen are those who can have a flexible schedule. They require you to be at least 18 years old, be a problem-solver, and have the ability to listen and learn. You must have transportation and pass a criminal background check. They provide all training through a Regional Ombudsman. 

Below are links to more information about becoming an ombudsman in Missouri and Kansas. 

How to become a MO ombudsman: https://mosers.org/news/missouri-ombudsman-program 

Mo Ombudsman Program: https://health.mo.gov/seniors/ombudsman/program.php#:~:text=Missouri’s%20ombudsman%20program%20is%20a,with%20their%20problems%20or%20complaints

KS Information Website: https://ombudsman.ks.gov/

KS Volunteer Website: https://ombudsman.ks.gov/volunteer/become-a-volunteer

KS Volunteer Application: https://ombudsman.ks.gov/volunteer/become-a-volunteer/volunteer-application 

Aimee Gromowsky

Aimee Gromowsky is formerly an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Jackson County and currently a private practice lawyer. Ms. Gromowsky handles thousands of cases in Kansas City, Missouri area courts and was honored with a “Best in Bar” award in 2007 and 2008 from the Kansas City Business Journal. As a Kansas City traffic lawyer, Aimee is determined to represent you in your case by providing exceptional legal counsel and service.