Long-Term Care Ombudsman

The Issue

Residents in long-term care facilities sometimes have questions about their rights or concerns regarding their quality of care or quality of life.

Our Impact

Whether through individual contact with residents or systemic advocacy, the Ombudsman makes a difference in the lives of residents in long-term care facilities. The Ombudsman Program staff are available to answer questions and help resolve concerns regarding long-term care services. Quarterly visits are made to the residents of all long-term care service facilities in Erie County to assure their rights are respected. We believe all long-term care residents deserve dignity, support, and respect.


Ombudsmen work to resolve problems related to the health, safety, welfare, and rights of individuals who live in licensed long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, personal care homes, and assisted living facilities, or who receive long-term care services in the community.

An Ombudsman is someone who cares and can help. Your information will be kept confidential and the program's services are provided at no cost.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Ombudsmen are specially trained and certified and have authority under Pennsylvania law to identify, investigate and resolve complaints made by, or on behalf of, long-term care facility residents. Ombudsmen are advocates for the residents of these facilities. Our priority is to protect the rights of long-term care residents and ensure residents receive fair treatment and appropriate care by:

  • Making routine, unannounced facility visits
  • Identifying, investigating, and resolving complaints
  • Ensuring residents are receiving individualized care to meet their needs
  • Educating residents, families, and staff about residents' rights and facility regulations

Ombudsman Brochure

Complaints an Ombudsman Can Address

  • Staff are rough when providing care
  • Staff are discourteous
  • Not receiving mail or phone calls
  • Questions about Medicare are not being answered
  • Wrong medications are given or at the wrong time
  • Nutrition and dietary concerns
  • Personal property is lost or stolen
  • They have not seen a physician in months
  • Discrimination against residents in the LGBTQ community
  • Activities are boring or the only activity is watching television
  • Heating or air conditioning problems
  • Inappropriate unsafe transfers and discharges
  • Slow response to call lights
  • Hearing aids and/or eyeglasses are missing
  • Residents rights are being ignored
  • Lack of participation in the care plan
  • Abuse and neglect
  • Inappropriate unsafe transfers and discharges
  • Issues with therapy

COVID-19 Information

  • CMS released revised COVID visitation information on 9/23/2022: "The resident has a right to receive visitors of his or her choosing at the time of his or her choosing, subject to the resident's right to deny visitation when applicable, and in a manner that does not impose on the rights of another resident".
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of staffing for the well-being of residents. CMS has released information related to staffing as well as other information to help in your search for quality care in nursing homes. To find this new information, you can go to the Care Compare website. Enter the nursing home location and name, then scroll down and open "View Staffing Information" or any of the other informational tabs.
  • The Pennsylvania State Ombudsman Program launched the Virtual Family Council in May 2020 as an online forum for families to learn about topics of interest related to long-term care. Led by Ombudsmen and family members, the biweekly meetings bring families and advocates together for sharing, support, and learning. To get Virtual Family Council connection information, email LTC-Ombudsman@pa.gov and in the subject line indicate "Virtual Family Council".

Nursing Home Visitation Guidance


You may contact us in writing, by phone, online, or in-person by appointment. The consent of the resident or responsible party is necessary before any contact with facility staff. All information is private and confidential.

Phone: (814) 459-4581 ext. 593

Email: ombudsman@gecac.org

Greater Erie Community Action Committee
Ombudsman Program
18 West 9th Street
Erie, PA 16501

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Carolyn DiMattio
(814) 459-4581 Ext. 593