Upstate SC ADRC

Long Term Care Ombudsman


Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

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.

Ombudsmen will:

  • 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
  • Respect the privacy and confidentiality of residents
  • Mediate between staff and residents when problems arise in facilities
  • Objectively investigate complaints sent to their office about issues in facilities
  • Serve as a Living Will witness

Individuals willing to volunteer to help in the LTC Ombudsman program might consider becoming part of our Friendly Visitor Program.

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.  Most facilities are willing to work with you to find a solution that everyone is happy with.

If that isn’t the case, call us!  The Ombudsman program will take anonymous 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 and if it is a problem throughout the facility. 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.

After the investigation is through the ombudsman will then follow up to ensure that any agreement reached to solve the problem is actually carried out.

How can I file a complaint now that I know?

To file a complaint, please call Melissa Drakeford, Intake Coordinator at (864) 242-9733 or email her at

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

Funding legislation

The South Carolina State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is authorized by the federal Older Americans Act and its State companion, the Omnibus Adult Protection Act.

Read more about this legislation here:


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.  Even if the ombudsman cannot resolve your complaint without revealing your identity, you make the choice whether or not the ombudsman proceeds.

More Long Term Care Information

Access more information on Long Term Care, such as

  • Long-Term Planning
  • End of Life Planning
  • Choosing a nursing home or assisted living facility

by clicking here.

What is the Resident's Bill of Rights?

The rights of nursing home residents are codified in both federal and state statutes with the intent of further protecting each resident's civil, religious, and human rights while they reside in a nursing facility. 

Resident's Bill of Rights (PDF)