Ombudsman Aged Care inspections programme: Update

Orientation Visits

Orientation visits to specialized dementia and psychogeriatric care facilities began in November 2019. These visits help inform the approach, the assessment criteria and the development of the inspection programme. As they are orientation visits, not inspections, no reports are being produced, or recommendations are being made to facilities as a result of these visits.

15 facilities were visited last year, and seven more will be visited before 30 June 2020. Facilities are contacted directly at least one week before visiting. Facilities visited in these early stages are not selected for visits because of any concerns about how they operate.

Find out more about the orientation visits here.

Frequently asked questions

Facilities are already being audited so why duplicate these?

The Chief Ombudsman has a responsibility to carry out inspections of aged care facilities in order to protect the human rights of people who may be detained there. This is part of an international Convention that New Zealand has signed up to. These inspections will look at different things, for different reasons compared with the existing audits and review. The inspection programme is still being developed.

How will you minimize disruption to facilities and residents?

The Ombudsman already inspect mental health and intellectual disability units, so are accustomed to conducting themselves appropriately in sensitive health and disability environments. The inspectors will have the necessary skills, training and experience to undertake inspections in the aged care setting. The size of the inspection teams has yet to be decided. It is likely the team will be appropriate to the size of the facility. There are restrictions and standards that we must keep to, however there will be two inspectors at a minimum visiting together.

Next steps

This is a three year programme approved by Parliament last year. The Ombudsman will be scaling up their operations over time as resources become available. Follow them on Facebook (@ombudsmannz) or email them ( to be sent any updates.

About Eve Williams

Eve Williams is the Content Developer and Social Media Administration for Eldernet. She is currently studying towards her Masters at the University of Canterbury. She has a passion for learning new things.