It is widely recognized that regulatory efforts outside of the nursing home have had relatively limited success in monitoring patient care complaints (New York State Moreland Act Commission, 1975; Weatherby, 1975). As a result, the public at large and an increasing number of policy analysts have aggressively called for the initiation of alternative long term care monitoring strategies (Regan, 1977; Linnane, 1977; Vladeck, 1980). One such recently developed administrative ameliorative, with direct ties to the local community, is the nursing home patient ombudsman. The ombudsman program, when serving as a complaint redress mechanism for the institutionalized aged, is believed to operate in a dynamic interaction between nursing home residents, their families and friends, facility personnel, community and government. Such programs have stressed the importance of the citizen volunteer, and the development of communication networks between residential facilities and the larger community.

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