Skip to main content
Independant Services

Everyone has rights and choices. At RCIL, we believe that no matter how old you are or what your level of ability is, you have the right to live independently and make your own choices. 

NYS Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program: Advocating for Residents

What is an Ombudsman?

Long Term Care Ombudsmen are advocates for residents of skilled Nursing and Assisted Living Facilities. They work to resolve problems and improve the care of individual residents, while working to bring about change at the local, state, and national levels to improve care.

Ombudsmen Volunteers are certified by the NY State Office for the Aging. All services are confidential and free of charge.

The Herkimer/Madison/Oneida/Otsego County Ombudsman Program is administered through the Resource Center for Independent Living (RCIL).

The Reform Act of 1987

The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 requires each nursing home to “care for its residents in such a manner and in such an environment as to promote maintenance and enhancement of quality of life for each of the residents.”

An Ombudsman:

Picture of Supportive Caregiver Hands & Elderly Hands on Cane

• Will listen to residents' concerns, comments, and opinions.

• Will advocate to ensure the highest quality of care for residents of long term care facilities.

• Will mediate conflicts between residents, their families and staff in order to develop collaborative solutions, resolve problems and meet challenges.

• Will investigate complaints and make appropriate referrals.

• Will analyze, comment on and monitor the development and implementation of Federal, State and local laws pertaining to the residents of long term care facilities.

• Will educate residents, family members and staff about resident’s rights and available resources.

Residents have the right to:

  • Dignity, respect and a comfortable living environment

  • Quality of care and treatment without discrimination

  • Freedom of choice to make their own, independent decisions

  • The safeguard of your property and money

  • Safeguards in admission, transfer and discharge

  • Privacy in communications

  • Participate in organizations and activities of their choice

  • An easy to use and responsive complaint procedure

  • Exercise all of their rights without fear of reprisals


Becoming an Ombudsman Volunteer

The NYS Ombudsman Program certifies volunteer ombudsmen after attending a 36-hour training program. After certification, the ombudsman is assigned to a facility to ensure that the rights of the residents are protected. 

Brochure: Becoming an Ombudsman Volunteer

Flyer: Is this the volunteer experience for you?

For more information about the Ombudsman Program anywhere in Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, and Otsego Counties, please contact:

Resource Center for Independent Living (RCIL)

PO Box 210
Utica, NY 13503
315-272-1872 or
toll-free at 1-800-627-2981


New York State Ombudsman Hotline

to speak with a state Ombudsman.

NYS Ombudsman Program Logo

Programs supported by: the Oneida County Office for Aging and Continuing Care, NY State Office for the Aging, Federal Older Americans’ Act funding, and RCIL.

Counties Served:

  • Herkimer
  • Madison
  • Oneida
  • and Otsego Counties

Request more information by calling or filling out our inquiry form.

This document was developed under grant CFDA 93.778 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.