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Long Term Care Ombudsman Program


Questions or concerns about the care a resident is receiving in a nursing home, assisted living, or adult family home? Looking for guidance on how to navigate the long-term care system?

Contact Dana Gargus: 360-337-5714 or 1-800-562-6418

What is a Long Term Care Ombudsman and why are they needed?

The overall purpose of the  Ombudsman Program is to ensure the dignity, rights and well-being of individuals living in long-term care.

A Long Term Care Ombudsman, staff or volunteer, is a person trained, certified, and authorized by the Washington State Ombudsman Program to advocate for residents in long term care facilities.

Ombudsmen are needed to assist residents and their families in achieving the highest level of quality of life and quality of care, which is a right guaranteed to residents by law.

What does an Ombudsman do?

A LTC Ombudsman provides residents with easy access to a personal, on-site advocate who is mandated to work only on behalf of residents. In Washington State, a LTC Ombudsman:

  • Visits their assigned facilities on a weekly basis, spending about 4 hours/week working on behalf of residents;
  • Works to resolve issues of resident care, resident rights, family matters, and finances;
  • Makes it his/her business to get to know the residents, their families and staff;
  • Consults with residents and helps residents get answers to their questions or concerns;
  • Refers potential cases of abuse, neglect,  retaliation or coercion to authorities.

For more information see WAC 365-18-080                           

Become a Long-Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman

The Washington State Ombudsman Program has been organized to utilize highly trained community volunteers to supplement the work of a small staff. The State of Washington authorizes the State Long Term Care Ombudsman to delegate her authority (to advocate on behalf of LTC residents) to visiting ombudsmen who are willing to undergo certification training, and work under the principles and guidelines set by the LTC Ombudsman Program.

Currently, there are over 500 Certified LTC Ombudsmen in Washington State. More Ombudsmen are needed to advocate for residents and their families, as the number of people residing in long term care increases.

And did you know...

The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is an organized nation-wide effort with programs in every state, federally mandated to provide effective advocacy and support to residents in a variety of long term care settings.

How can I become a Certified Long Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman?



You must meet the requirements for becoming an Ombudsman and successfully complete 32 hours of training. Potential volunteers will be asked to complete an application and background check and participate in a formal interview. No Ombudsman shall be or have been employed by or participated in the management of any long-term care facility, including work as a paid consultant or independent contractor, currently or within the past year. You must meet all of the conflict of interest criteria as set forth in WAC-365-18-040

How can I get more information?

There are 13 Regional Ombudsman Programs in Washington State and training is provided locally. To receive more information about the LTC Ombudsman Program in Kitsap County, contact Dana Gargus, Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman at 360-337-5714 or 1-800-562-6418 or

For more information on the State Ombudsman program, please visit the Washington State Long Term Care Ombudsman website.