Volunteers from each community where long-term care facilities are located are trained to be advocates for the residents. They are appointed by the Long-Term Care (LTC) Resident Ombudsman at the Iowa Department of Elder Affairs, and they are committed to confidentiality. Resident Advocates are required for all long-term care (LTC) facilities throughout the state of Iowa.

The duties of the Resident Advocates are to visit residents and keep records of what the resident wants. They do not reveal what individual residents say, nor do they identify residents by name. Family and friends of the residents may come to them for help, too, and are afforded the same confidentiality.

The Resident Advocates meet regularly to discuss issues and concerns in addition to seeking resolution of the concerns in-house in order to avoid referring complaints to state and federal authorities. There are times, however, when the issues cannot be resolved satisfactorily at the facility. When that happens, Resident Advocates have the authority to take issues to state investigatory agencies.