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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?

Ombudsmen are advocates for residents of Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living, Adult Homes, and other long-term care 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 overall care.

Ombudsmen Volunteers are certified by the NY State Office of the State Long Term Care Ombudsman. 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).

Mission of the Ombudsman Program

To serve as an advocate and resource for older adults and persons with disabilities who live in long-term care facilities.

An Ombudsman:

Picture of Supportive Caregiver Hands & Elderly Hands on Cane

• An Advocate for Residents

• A Mediator

• A Negotiator

• A Problem Solver

Fundamentals of Resident Rights:

•    Independent decision making 
•    Dignity & Respect  
•    Privacy & Confidentiality  
•    Being fully informed  
•    Raising grievances  
•    Participation in One’s Own Care 
•    Visitation
•    Remaining in or leaving a facility


1A Ombudsman State Brochure


Becoming an Ombudsman Volunteer

The NYS Ombudsman Program certifies volunteer ombudsmen after attending a 36-hour certification training program which includes pre-mentoring and post shadowing.  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.