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Information for residents' point of contact: Upcoming inspection by the Chief Ombudsman’s team

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The Chief Ombudsman, Peter Boshier, would like to let you know that some of his staff will soon be at this facility to carry out one of his inspections. This inspection is one of a number that the Chief Ombudsman’s staff conduct to examine the conditions and treatment of residents in certain aged care facilities throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

Why the Chief Ombudsman does inspections

The Chief Ombudsman has been tasked by the Minister of Justice to monitor health and disability facilities where people reside and cannot leave at will. This includes parts of privately run aged care facilities, such as dementia and psychogeriatric units. His focus is on the conditions and treatment of the residents at the facility. Monitoring helps ensure people are treated humanely and their rights are respected and protected. It also ensures Aotearoa New Zealand adheres to international human rights standards.

The Chief Ombudsman and his staff are able, by law, to enter these aged care facilities, speak to anyone and gather any information they need. They will operate in a manner that is effective, safe for everyone and supports aged care facilities in caring for their residents.

What will happen during an inspection

The Chief Ombudsman’s team will be on site to speak to staff and observe how the place operates. To understand the conditions and treatment of residents, the team will also look at a range of facility information. This may include residents’ ‘care plans’ and clinical notes. All information the team collects is kept confidential and is securely stored.

These inspections are informed by the Chief Ombudsman’s expectations for the conditions and treatment of residents. It is important the Chief Ombudsman also hears about the experience your family or whānau member, or the person you legally represent, has had of this facility. The team may if appropriate, speak to residents, staff, and visitors, during the inspection. They will introduce themselves and tell them about their work for the Chief Ombudsman. They will also show their identification. This includes their name and photo so all can be sure of who they are talking to.

A team member may also ask to talk to you while the team is on site, and you may be invited to participate in an online survey. If inspectors are unable to speak with you on site, you may be invited to speak to one of the team, either by phone or via Zoom, in the weeks following the inspection. The size of the team, and how long they are on site, depends on the size of the place and how many residents it has. There will be at least two team members on site.

Before the team starts its inspection, it asks for a health and safety briefing from the facility’s manager. All inspectors will wear appropriate personal protective equipment, if necessary, return a negative rapid antigen test before entering, and vaccinated (and boosted) against COVID-19.

What will happen after an inspection

After the on-site inspection, team members will continue to speak to staff, family, whānau, authorised representatives, and anyone else who may help give them a good understanding of the conditions at the facility. They will review the information they have collected, and may ask for more.

The Chief Ombudsman will provide feedback to the people in charge of the facility about what he thinks are areas of good practice, and what areas may need improvement. He might make recommendations about specific things he would like to see change. This feedback might be published as a report, if appropriate.

The Chief Ombudsman is required to report to Parliament on his findings and recommendations, at least annually. He does not publish or share information that would identify any resident or yourself in his reports.

More information

More information about the Chief Ombudsman’s monitoring programme is available on his website, including information about the legal basis for his work, and his expectations.

The Chief Ombudsman welcomes feedback on his expectations at any time.

If you have any questions about the inspection, or want to be sent any updates, please email [email protected]

You can also keep up to date by following Facebook (@ombudsmannz) or Twitter (@Ombudsman_NZ).

The Chief Ombudsman monitors aged care facilities to prevent human rights violations occurring. He isn't able to investigate individual complaints about private facilities. There are a number of agencies involved in dealing with complaints about health and disability facilities, depending on the circumstances.

Find out more on the Ministry of Health's website:

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