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Long-Term Care Ombuds Program


Do you have questions or concerns about the care a resident is receiving in a nursing home, assisted living, or adult family home? Looking for guidance on how to navigate the long-term care system?

Contact Dana Gargus, Regional Long-Term Care Ombuds for Kitsap County, at 360-337-5714, 800-562-6418 or

What is a Long-Term Care Ombuds and why are they needed?

The overall purpose of the Ombuds Program is to ensure the dignity, rights and well-being of individuals living in long-term care.

A Long-Term Care Ombuds, staff or volunteer, is a person trained, certified, and authorized by the Washington State Ombuds Program to advocate for residents in long-term care facilities.

Ombuds are needed to assist residents and their families in achieving the highest level of quality of life and quality of care, which is a right guaranteed to residents by law.

What does an Ombudsman do?

A LTC Ombuds provides residents with easy access to a personal, on-site advocate who is mandated to work only on behalf of residents. In Washington state, a LTC Ombuds:

  • Visits their assigned facilities on a weekly basis, spending about 4 hours/week working on behalf of residents;
  • Works to resolve issues of resident care, resident rights, family matters, and finances;
  • Makes it his/her business to get to know the residents, their families and staff;
  • Consults with residents and helps residents get answers to their questions or concerns;
  • Refers potential cases of abuse, neglect, retaliation or coercion to authorities.

For more information see WAC 365-18-080                           

Become a Long-Term Care (LTC) Ombuds

The Washington State Ombuds Program has been organized to utilize highly trained community volunteers to supplement the work of a small staff. The State of Washington authorizes the State Long-Term Care Ombuds to delegate authority (to advocate on behalf of LTC residents) to visiting ombuds who are willing to undergo certification training, and work under the principles and guidelines set by the LTC Ombuds Program.

Currently, there are over 500 Certified LTC Ombuds in Washington State. More Ombuds are needed to advocate for residents and their families, as the number of people residing in long-term care increases.

The Long-Term Care Ombuds Program is an organized nationwide effort with programs in every state, federally mandated to provide effective advocacy and support to residents in a variety of long-term care settings.

How can I become a Certified Long-Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman?



You must meet the requirements for becoming an Ombuds and successfully complete 32 hours of training. Potential volunteers will be asked to complete an application and background check and participate in a formal interview. No Ombuds shall be or have been employed by or participated in the management of any long-term care facility, including work as a paid consultant or independent contractor, currently or within the past year. You must meet all of the conflict of interest criteria as set forth in WAC-365-18-040

Read the position description here and contact Dana Gargus, Regional Long-Term Care Ombuds for Kitsap County at the phone number or email listed below.

How can I get more information?

There are 13 Regional Ombuds Programs in Washington State and training is provided locally. To receive more information about the LTC Ombuds Program in Kitsap County, contact Dana Gargus, Regional Long-Term Care Ombuds at 360-337-5714 or 1-800-562-6418 or
For more information on the Washington State Ombuds Program, please visit the Washington State Long-Term Care Ombuds website.