Colorado Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Ombudsman (om-budz-man) is a Swedish word meaning “one who speaks on behalf of another.” Ombudsmen protect the rights of people living in nursing homes and assisted living residences. 


What You Must Know

Colorado Ombudsman Program

Colorado has 47 full- and part-time (approximately 35 full-time equivalent) state ombudsmen across Colorado. They are joined by 16 volunteer ombudsmen who gave 1,743 hours in 2015. These 63 ombudsmen are fully certified.

To attain certification, the ombudsmen must complete an orientation within their local region designed to help build familiarity with the facilities, residents and staff, the regulations and the regulatory system. They must also complete 15 hours of continuing education each year. 

Why Are Ombudsmen Needed?

While most residents receive good care in long-term care facilities, far too many are neglected and others are victims of psychological, physical, and other kinds of abuse. Licensed facilities are required to allow ombudsmen to enter the facility and visit with residents, without interference from facility staff.

What Do Ombudsmen Do?

The role of the ombudsman is to act as an advocate for the resident and assist the resident in resolving issues related to care, health, safety, or the resident’s rights.

Ombudsmen strive to resolve complaints that range from simple quality of care issues, such as a resident’s preferred time for breakfast, to very serious, sometimes life-threatening, concerns involving abuse and neglect. Other services include:

  • Attending family and resident council meetings at a licensed facility
  • Providing community education
  • Providing training to facility staff
  • Providing training to other professional agencies that work with at-risk adults and residents of long-term care facilities 

Photo: L to R: Vera Cunningham aged 102, Washington County Commissioner David Foy, and Joe Thereur breaking ground on the Green House Project in Akron, CO. 

Ombudsmen In Action

How do state ombudsmen help seniors? Read the story Preserving An Elder's Freedom about one long-term care resident who was falsely admitted to a long-term care facility by his wife under false pretenses.

Meet Your State Office

Colorado Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
455 Sherman Street, Suite 130
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303.722.0300


See a map of Colorado Agencies on Aging for your local Ombudsman contacts. Please contact us if you have a case of abuse or neglect to report.

Read our report to learn more about the program.