In Iowa, the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman (OSLTCO) is authorized by the federal Older Americans Act and the state Older Iowans Act. Operating as an independent entity within the Iowa Department on Aging, its mission is to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of individuals residing in long-term care facilities by investigating complaints, seeking resolutions to problems, and providing advocacy with the goal of enhancing quality of life and care.
In 2018, the OSLTCO had jurisdiction to advocate for the rights of the more than 55,000 Iowans residing in long-term care settings in Iowa, including those living in nursing facilities, residential care facilities, assisted living programs, and elder group homes. Activities included:
- Resolving complaints made by or on behalf of residents/tenants of long-term care facilities;
- Educating consumers and long-term care providers about residents' rights and good care practices;
- Promoting community involvement through volunteer opportunities;
- Providing information to the public on nursing facilities and other long-term care facilities, residents' rights and legislative and policy issues;
- Advocating for residents' rights and quality care in nursing facilities, residential care facilities and assisted living programs; and
- Promoting the development of citizen organizations, family councils and resident councils.