Factsheet: Chief Ombudsman’s role examining and monitoring aged care facilities
New Zealand has made an international commitment to make sure detained people are being treated in the right way and are living in a humane environment. People can be detained because they are very unwell, have broken a law, or to keep themselves or others safe. They still have human rights.
One of the Chief Ombudsman’s roles is to let Parliament know what is happening in ‘places of detention’, such as some health and disability facilities. This includes aged care facilities where people are unable to leave at will, such as secure dementia or specialised hospital (psychogeriatric) care.
This role is preventive, aiming to ensure that safeguards are in place to prevent a person being treated badly, and that any risks, poor practices, or systemic problems are identified and addressed promptly. The Chief Ombudsman makes recommendations for improvement where he considers this is necessary. He may also identify, promote and share good practice in the hope that this will also lead to improvements across the sector.
The Chief Ombudsman’s examinations and monitoring provide an independent oversight of aged care facilities. To do this work, he authorises inspectors to carry out visits and inspections.