Upstate SC ADRC

Long Term Care Ombudsman FAQs


Frequently asked questions about long-term care ombudsman


What is a Long Term Care Ombudsman?
Long Term Care Ombudsmen are advocates who protect the civil and human rights of residents in long-term care facilities.  Ombudsmen receive and investigate complaints and assist residents to resolve complaints.  Ombudsmen offer many services to residents, family members, and facilities.


Who can call the Ombudsman?
Residents of long-term care facilities, friends and relatives of residents, facility staff members, community members and others concerned about the welfare of residents in long-term care facilities.

How does the Ombudsman handle a complaint?
First and foremost you should always bring your concern to the facility staff and give them a chance to fix the problem. 

If that isn't the case the Ombudsman program will take complaints and often times may just need to provide you with a consultation in order to help you solve the problem.

If it is an issue that needs to investigated, the ombudsman will try to determine exactly what the problem is. The ombudsman will then investigate the complaint to determine if it is valid.  If valid, the ombudsman works with you and the facility to resolve the complaint.  If not valid, the ombudsman will explain their findings to you.


What about confidentiality?
In all cases, your complaints are handled confidentially.  The ombudsman does not disclose your identity without your permission, unless ordered to do so by a court. If the ombudsman cannot resolve your complaint without revealing your identity, you make the choice whether or not the ombudsman proceeds.  In order to investigate a resident-specific complaint, a written consent from the resident and/or legal representative is necessary.

How can I file a complaint?
To file a complaint, please call Kim Bridges, Intake Coordinator at (864) 242-9733 or email her at


What other services do Ombudsman provide?

  • Educate residents, families, facility staff, and the community on residents' rights
  • Provide in-service trainings to facility staff on residents' rights, abuse and neglect, dementia, and several other topics
  • Advocate for improvements in state and federal laws and regulations to improve quality of care in facilities
  • Provide information and referral regarding long-term care programs and services
  • Mediate between staff and residents when problems arise in facilities
  • Objectively investigate complaints sent to their office about issues in facilities
  • Serve as Living Will witnesses


What is Long Term Care?
Long Term Care is a variety of services that are available to care for people with disabilities and/or chronic illness.  People can receive services to assist them with activities of daily living such as bathing, eating, dressing, etc.  Long term care can be provided in the home or as is common, in a facility.

What is the difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility?
Nursing home facilities provide a place to live and 24-hour skilled care. Professionally trained staff is available on every shift, providing meals, oversight and general care. Doctors are available and on call for regular and emergency visits.

Assisted living facilities (also known as Community Residential Care facilities) offer assistance with some basic tasks and medication reminders, but do not provide medical care. The facilities feature home-like settings and are communal living places.

The main difference between the two facilities is medical care.


What is a community training home or a department of mental health facility?
The Department of Disability and Special Needs community training homes (CTH) are facilities that serve four or more mentally retarded persons or persons with related conditions such as a severe, chronic disability.  They provide health or rehabilitative services on a regular basis to individuals whose mental and physical conditions require services including room, board, and active treatment for their mental retardation or related conditions.  

Department of Mental Health Facilities are facilities which work in partnership with local mental health centers to fund and develop safe, decent affordable housing with supportive services for residents.  The facilities provide housing and services to persons with severe and persistent mental illnesses and provide the opportunity to live as independently as possible in the community of their choice with dignity and respect.


What is the Friendly Visitor program?
The Friendly Visitor Program is a part of the Long Term Care Ombudsman program.  The program places volunteers into nursing home or assisted living facilities.  Volunteers are not certified Ombudsman, but do help assist them in their duties.