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Ombudsman Services

Jim Stueck
, Board Member/ former Board Chair; Kathy Terry, Field Services Coordinator; Louann Davis, Board Chair; Marie Sullenbarger, Volunteer; Mary Williford, volunteer; Bee Ellisman, Founder; Sylvia Taylor-Stein, Executive Director; Daniel Uhlar, Former staff/volunteer; Ursula Kramer,volunteer;




testimonial

Dear Folks,

"We would like to express our appreciation for the encouragement, wisdom, and assistance we received from the Ombudsman Program as we cared for our friend in the last few weeks of her life. Your support was phenomenal. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

Ray & Brenda C.




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testimonial

Facility Administrators/owners

“We are so grateful for the Ventura County Ombudsman Program.  I have been in many areas and I have yet to see a program as competent and caring as yours.  Thank You!

I’m excited to be in the area on a more permanent basis. …
Jim & Eileen are absolutely the best ombudsman.  Our facility and residents are so fortunate to have them here.”

John Albrechtsen, Administrator
Victoria Care Center,  Ventura




 
Services Offered
Long Term Care Facilities

When the time comes to choose a nursing home, it is important to visit the home and record your impressions and observations. The Ventura Ombudsman Program offers a checklist to help you do this. Make numerous visits to the nursing homes or assisted care facilities you are considering at different days and times and record your impressions after each visit.

When visiting, rely on all your senses to help you assess the care and quality of life of the resident. Be particularly observant of smells that may indicate hygiene issues.

On your initial visit, request the admission's packet and review its contents. Does it have information on policies, procedures, and residents' rights? Is it easy to understand? Talk with the residents and their families and staff. Contact the Ventura County Ombudsman office for additional information and before making a final decision on nursing homes. Each facility must post information regarding how to contact the Ombudsman. You may also ask for an Ombudsman brochure which is available at most facilities.

Download a Facility Checklist

Complaint investigation

Complaint Investigation

The Long Term Care Ombudsman responds to complaints and problems made by or on behalf of the residents in Ventura County’s long term care facilities. Residents, family members, visitors, staff members and other concerned citizens are encouraged to contact the Ombudsman with their complaints and concerns. As Ombudsmen, we objectively investigate issues brought to our attention and then seek solutions that meet the needs and desire of the residents. Our goal is to solve as many problems onsite as possible, in order to best serve the residents.

All long term care facilities must display the Ombudsman poster listing the name and telephone number of the local Ombudsman program and a 24 hour crisis line number. Nursing homes are required to post 4 posters in conspicuous places within their facility and assisted living facilities and board and care homes must have one poster displayed onsite. Working with agencies, residents, and families, the ombudsman not only investigates and resolves problems, but also provides information, referral and consultations to individuals and facilities.

The ombudsman can help with concerns and problems concerning:

• Quality of care provided by facility (see section on Elder Abuse)
• Residents’ rights
• Dietary needs
• Financial issues
• Roommate issues
• Restraints – physical and chemical
• Transfer and discharge from facility
• Privacy and confidentiality
• Denial of services

Of the over 100 complaint investigations handled by the Ventura County Ombudsman Program each month, approximately 55-60% are resolved on site. The remaining 40-45% are formally filed with the appropriate regulatory agency, the Department of Public Health – Certification and Licensing for skilled nursing facilities, or the Department of Social Services – Community Care Licensing, for residential care facilities for the elderly. Complaints are also filed with law enforcement and the District Attorney when necessary.

Typically, complaints come to the attention of state certified ombudsmen via:

Direct observation while the Ombudsmen are on their regular,  unannounced, and unscheduled, visits to their assigned facilities.

Communication with the residents or their families while visiting the facilities.

Emails and telephone calls into the Long Term Care Services office.

All investigations are handled as privately as possible and confidentially. Anonymity is respected and all attempts are made to ensure that residents with concerns are not retaliated against for reporting their concerns.

Core principles of the Long-Term-Care Ombudsman Program in Complaint Handling are as follows:

Complaints are primarily resident driven. They begin with the resident, focus on the resident and end with the resident. When someone else refers a complaint, the ombudsman determines to the extent possible, what the resident wants, before intervening.

Complaints are confidential. Ombudsman representatives do not reveal the identity of a resident without written permission.

Complaints call for empowerment. Ombudsman representatives provide information and encouragement to residents or complainants to act on their own behalf as much as possible.

• Though there are many persons involved in a resident’s care, the primary focus of the ombudsman is the resident her/himself.

The Ombudsman serves a segment of the population that would otherwise have no means of representation. The Ombudsman pro-acts and advocates for those who cannot speak for themselves. In the absence of the Ombudsman it is feared that most elder abuses and complaints in long-term care facilities would go unnoticed and unremedied, while levels of care and the quality of health and life for the frail, elderly residents would most certainly deteriorate.

Pre-placement Counseling

“More than 27 million family caregivers in America provide more that 20 hours of care each week. Family caregivers in the United States provide an estimated 257 billion in unpaid services annually—more than twice what is spent on nursing homes and paid home care combined”.

When it comes time to place a loved one in long term care, many family caregivers have no idea what to do or where to turn. Choosing a long term care facility is a very important decision. As a family member or caregiver you will need to plan ahead and think about long term care before you or your loved one needs it, or you are in a crisis. The best time to talk about long term care is before you need it.

Nearly one out of every four U.S. households—roughly 22 million—provide caregiver services to a relative or friend over 50 years of age
40 % of caregivers are also raising children
64% work either full – or part time
40% of Caregivers die before the person for whom
they are providing care


Call or EMAIL Long Term Care Services of Ventura County, Inc., for comprehensive information about long term care facilities through its Pre-placement Counseling Program.

What is Pre-Placement Counseling?

It is a confidential consultation conducted by phone, email, or face to face between you and a professional compassionate staff Ombudsman who will
introduce you to the world of long term care. You will become familiar with the different types of long term care facilities in Ventura County, levels of care and services they provide, and a general idea of costs involved with placement in a long term care facility in Ventura County.

You will learn about payment options. What MediCal does and does not cover, and that currently MediCal does not pay for care in assisted living or residential care facilities. You will learn about Supplemental Social Security (SSI) and which assisted living facilities and residential care facilities accept SSI for payment in Ventura County.

You will be provided a current list and contact information for the following facilities in the county:
Skilled nursing facilities
Assisted living facilities
Residential care facilities for the elderly
Adult Day Health Care Facilities
Adult Day Care Facilities



Pre-placement Counseling is Confidential and Free of Charge and is available by Phone, email, or in person at our office.


Caregiver Support Groups

For more Support…. Visit our Weekly Family Caregiver Support Groups

If you are a family member, friend or caring neighbor who stands by those you love as they face chronic illness, disabilities, or death, than you are part of a selfless and diverse group of people known as caregivers. You come in all ages and from all walks of life; you may have an extensive background in providing care, or be completely new to the whole concept of care giving

In any event, when you are a caregiver, finding other resources that can help relieve the stress of care giving, or just making time for positive, nurturing interactions with others might seem impossible. But without them you may not have the mental strength to deal with all of the emotions you experience as a caregiver, including guilt and anger.

You may be worried about how you are going to handle future care giving needs, and if you will be physically or mentally able to do so.

If this is you, we would like to invite you to our weekly Caregiver Support Group where you will find a safe place to talk freely and openly about the issues surrounding providing in home care for a love one. You will find you are not alone in this effort, and that there are others going through similar situations and with stories very much like yours.

Long Term Care Services offers comprehensive information and caregiver support services that can help you – the family caregiver –and the older person you care about.

Contact us by telephone or email kterry@ombudsmanventura.org for more information



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