Specific to nursing homes, ombudsmen work with residents and families to develop, implement and support independent Resident and Family councils. The Older Americans Act mandates that the long term care ombudsman provide training to long term care providers on resident rights and to assist Resident and Family Councils with their deliberations.
The purpose of Resident and Family Councils is to provide a forum where there is "strength in numbers," acknowledging that it may be intimidating to personally file a complaint about issues with care and treatment. The Councils' structure provides a safe and open mechanism that allows persons to raise concerns about care that may have an impact on others, and to advance positive changes in the nursing home environment. No one person or family is identified as the source of the concern, minimizing the fear of retaliatation.