Help support a resident’s decision-making. Provide information about the range of decision-making mechanisms that are available and refer individuals to the appropriate resources for assistance. Be alert in situations where terms like “resident representative,” “power of attorney,” or “guardian” may be used interchangeably. Verify what mechanism, if any, exists and the extent of what that mechanism covers if necessary to address a resident’s concerns. If a case arises with a resident who has a guardian, as an ombudsman, you will work with or through the guardian in most situations. There are three exceptions: 1. The complaint is about the guardian or some action of the guardian. 2. The complaint is about the issues of whether the guardian is needed. 3. The guardianship is a limited one (the resident retains the right to make some decisions). With these types of cases, it may be advisable to seek legal advice from an appropriate agency. Remember that residents may be able to clearly communiate what they want through behavior. The law, regulations, and Guidance to Surveyors support involving the resident in making decisions about their care and life to the extent that is practicable. As an ombudsman, you are the primary model many individuals will have for supporting and encouraging residents in exercising decision-making in their daily lives. Be vigilant about checking with the resident as an initial step in working on a case. Then either empower and assist the resident in resolving the issue, or take your direction from the resident.