The Vermont Long-Term Care Ombudsman Project protects the health, welfare and rights of people who live in long-term care facilities including nursing homes, residential care homes and assisted living residences. We also help people who receive long-term care services in their homes through Choices for Care (CFC).
Our presence helps to improve the quality of life for those who need long-term care services and makes the long-term care system better for those who need it. We resolve individual complaints, educate people about their rights, and advocate for administrative and legislative changes that protect consumer rights and allow seniors to make decisions about where and how they will live.
An active group of certified volunteers provides valuable support to the work of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Project. Learn more about our Volunteer Program.
John has been in a nursing home since he suffered a stroke several years ago. While he has recovered some mobility, his balance is not good and his strength varies from day to day. Together, these issues make him a serious fall risk.
An outgoing, independent person by nature, John likes to visit with other residents, and he wants to use the toilet in his room instead of a diaper or bedpan. His daughter, Ann, called the Long Term Care Ombudsman’s office because John complained on several occasions that the nursing home aides wouldn’t help him get out of bed. He would ring his call bell, the aides would come to his room and reset the bell, but they wouldn’t help him get out of bed.
Our ombudsman talked to the director of nursing to make her aware of the problem and to reinforce the fact that John was a serious fall risk. The director instructed the aides to help Ann’s father get out of bed when he rang his bell. With this issue resolved, Ann noticed a visible difference in her dad’s emotional well-being.
Name(s) and some details have been changed to protect anonymity and confidentiality.
From the first moments of the COVID-19 emergency, Vermont Legal Aid has been quick to advocate for Vermonters by making requests to state officials and legislators — in addition to giving legal help to Vermonters.
Some recent work has included:
Successfully lobbying for a moratorium on utility shutoffs (electric, gas and phones)
Pushing for a statewide moratorium on evictions
Advocating for low-income and vulnerable Vermonters in the Vermont courts
Tracking down Vermonters who were about to be removed from their homes during this health crisis and filing motions to postpone their writs of possession
Lobbying for increases in food benefits for families having a harder time putting meals on the table
Advising and representing those who are denied unemployment compensation
Working to make health insurance more accessible to all by helping Vermonters take advantage of the special enrollment period on Vermont Health Connect, and focusing on decreasing the cost of COVID-19 related care
Advocating to assure that Vermonters with intellectual and developmental disabilities have equal access to life-sustaining treatment and are not discriminated against based on their disability
Promoting the rights of people getting long-term care services
Advocating for rule changes that allow low-income and vulnerable people to continue to access benefits and services during the emergency order
Making recommendations to protect the education rights of students with disabilities as remote education is implemented
Identifying and communicating the most urgent needs within the Developmental Services system
Advocating the use federal funds to promote fair, inclusive housing even during the crisis
Advocating to assure that residents of Vermont’s residential care homes are able to stay safely in their homes throughout the pandemic
Urging state housing policymakers to ensure housing stimulus money goes to the poorest and most vulnerable Vermonters
Advocating in the legislature for low-income and vulnerable people
Advocating for CARES Act funding to be devoted to the needs of low-income and vulnerable people
Outreach and education about COVID-19 changes to the law and rules