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Ventura County Ombudsman Program shares their story of inspiration.

Below is an excerpt from the full article called  Gift of Giving -Ventura County Reporter.

Ventura County Ombudsman Program
When Bee Ellisman’s mother was in a nursing home, Bee visited her often, witnessing firsthand the need for advocates for elderly residents.

In 1981, Ellisman and her friend Shirley Radding founded the Ventura County Ombudsman Program based on the principle that elderly persons unable to care for themselves are entitled to dependable and consistent care.

With a small grant to get started, the founders, one staff member and two volunteers began monitoring 12 nursing facilities in Ventura County and advocating for decent care and quality of life for 1,482 elderly residents.

In 1988, the founders incorporated Long Term Care Services of Ventura County Inc., a nonprofit charitable corporation, to administer the program. In 1991 the Ventura County Ombudsman program was named a model effort by the state of California for its outstanding efforts on behalf of institutionalized elderly.

“Ombudsman is a Swedish word meaning advocate,” said Sylvia Taylor-Stein of Oxnard, executive director of Long Term Care Services of Ventura County Inc.

A special aspect of the program is its facility visitation plan, she said.

“The federal mandate governing the Ombudsman program nationwide requires only one annual visit per facility,” Taylor-Stein said. “However, the founders, foreseeing the built-in failure in such a deficient model, set a mandate for Ventura County that stipulated all skilled nursing facilities would be monitored a minimum of once a week and all assisted living facilities a minimum of once a month.”

This mandate has continued uninterrupted, and today five staff members and 63 volunteers advocate for decent care and quality of life for 9,500 disabled and elderly persons in Ventura County’s 231 long-term care facilities.

“Sixty percent of those who live in nursing homes have no family or friends to watch out for them or visit them, and are too fearful, vulnerable or frail to represent themselves,” Taylor-Stein said.

Intense training and a strong commitment to the elderly are required to become an Ombudsman, including 36 hours of classroom training, 15 hours of field service and 12 hours a year of continuing education to earn and retain certification by the State of California.

Ombudsman_vcreporter
Ombudsman Maeretha Franklin Coleman (left) visits with resident, Barbara McDaniel.

“This specialized training equips him or her to investigate and resolve complaints on behalf of elderly residents, and handle the myriad of problems that may arise in long-term care settings,” Taylor-Stein said. “For problems that cannot be resolved onsite or involve serious neglect or abuse, the Ombudsman enlists the help of licensing agencies, law enforcement and the District Attorney.”

Ombudsman services are confidential and free of charge.

“No other agency or program exists solely to advocate for the institutionalized elderly,” Taylor-Stein said. “Each year, the Ombudsman program provides the elders of Ventura County, their families and the community at large over 20,000 hours of free services.”

Volunteers, the nonprofit’s greatest asset, provide a value of $160,000 of in-kind services to the seniors and disabled in long-term care facilities.

“However, training and supporting volunteers, investigating complaints, pre-placement counseling, in-service training of paid facility staff, providing community education and support groups requires a professional staff,” Taylor-Stein said. “With a small paid staff and volunteers, we are able to provide 12 months of advocacy and support to one senior or disabled person in long-term care.”

Although the program is federally mandated, it does not receive the financial support from the federal or state government to provide services that the elderly and disabled require, Taylor-Stein said.

As a result, the program depends on funds from sources that include private foundations, community development block grant funding, and individual and public contributions.

“The program’s goal is to continue to bring strong effective advocacy and support services that help ensure a higher quality of life for this vulnerable neglected population — a group whose numbers are expected to double in the next 10 years,” Taylor-Stein said.

The gift of giving
Local nonprofit leaders share their stories of inspiration
By Alicia Doyle, VC Reporter 11/25/2015

Posted in Articles, California, Newspapers/Books, Ventura County.


California’s Largest Nursing Home Owner Sued

The family of a 57-year-old nursing home resident who committed suicide last year by lighting herself on fire in public has sued the state’s largest nursing home owner over the woman’s gruesome death in suburban Los Angeles.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses businessman Shlomo Rechnitz and several companies of operating a facility in South Pasadena that endangered patients and allowed mentally ill residents to languish in order to “maximize profits.”
Read more at sacbee.com

“This owner also has a nursing home in Ventura County where we have two ombudsman monitoring it. Very sad when a resident gets placed and then proper care is not provided”
-Sylvia Taylor-Stein, Executive Director

Posted in Articles, California, Law Suit.


Please help us show our Board of Supervisors how much they are appreciated!

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to let you know that we have a time certain for our Appreciation Presentation to the Board of Supervisors.

We are scheduled for July 28, 2015 at 10AM

I hope as many of you will come as possible. As I have expressed on several occasions, they have been in the fight with us from the beginning to help restore funding to the Ombudsman Program. Ventura County is the only county in CA that has been consistent and resolute since 2008 to stand with us on our funding reinstatement. Although we did not receive as much as we hoped, for the first time since 2008, we have been put back into the general fund. For those of you who may not know, we were in the general fund from 1986 until 2008 when we were suddenly, without any discussion, eliminated. Since that time some of the local programs have worked to reinstate the funds. This is the first year we have seen any real improvement, and we want to thank those who have helped us get here.

Please come out and help us show our Board of Supervisors how much they are appreciated.

Sylvia

Sylvia Taylor-Stein
Executive Director
Long Term Care Services of Ventura County, Inc.,
Ombudsman Program
2021 Sperry Avenue Suite 35
Ventura, CA 93003
T: 805-656-1986 ext 102
Fax: 805-658-8540
www.ombudsmanventura.org

Posted in California.


Ombudsman Program funding

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to announce that we have the final approval of the state
budget. The Legislators and Governor have approved the new budget with
the following increases for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs statewide:
$ 1,000,000 General Funds (On-Going)
$ 1,000,000 Citation Penalty Account (One-time only)
$ 400,000 Quality Assurance Fees (On-Going)
—————–
$ 2,400,000

While we would have loved to receive the full request of $ 6,000,000
that the Assembly unanimously approved, this is the first time since 2008 that we
have received State General Funds. It is a start. We will try again
next budget year to ensure that care facility residents have access to
the Ombudsman Program.

Thank you to everyone who helped us with phone calls and letters! You
have made a difference!

Best wishes,
Sylvia

Sylvia Taylor-Stein
Executive Director
Long Term Care Services of Ventura County, Inc.,
Ombudsman Program
2021 Sperry Avenue Suite 35
Ventura, CA 93003
T: 805-656-1986 ext 102
Fax: 805-658-8540
www.ombudsmanventura.org
a 501 (c) 3 Public Benefit Corporation

Posted in Budget Proposals, California.


CRUCIAL- PROTECT SENIORS: CALL THE GOVERNOR TODAY!

Dear Friends,

We are at a crucial point in our long fight to restore funding for the
Ombudsman Programs in California. Last week we received the very good
news that by unanimous and bi-partisan vote from the California Budget
Conference Committee we have been placed in the state’s final budget
to be presented to the governor.

Now we need the Governor to say Yes.

CALL GOVERNOR BROWN TODAY AT 916-445-2841 AND SAY,

“I URGE THE GOVERNOR TO SUPPORT THE FULL BUDGET PROPOSAL FOR LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN”.

AS A FRIEND OF THE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM IN VENTURA COUNTY, YOU KNOW HOW
IMPORTANT TO OUR ELDERLY AND DISABLED IN LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES THIS
PROGRAM IS, IN PROVIDING THEM WITH AN ADVOCATE MANDATED TO FIGHT FOR
THEIR RIGHTS AND NEEDS, AND RESOLVE COMPLAINTS OF NEGLECT AND ABUSE ON
THEIR BEHALF.

MANY OF THOSE WHO BUILT THIS STATE AND SO MUCH OF WHAT WE ENJOY HERE IN
CALIFORNIA NOW LIVE IN OUR LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES. THEY NEED AND
DESERVE AN ADVOCATE IN THIS VERY DEPENDENT AND VULNERABLE SEASON IN
WHICH THEY FIND THEMSELVES, BUT SADLY 60% OF THOSE LIVING IN OUR NURSING
HOMES HAVE NO FAMILY OR FRIENDS WHO EVER VISIT OR LOOK OUT FOR THEM.
THE OMBUDSMAN MAY VERY WELL BE THE ONLY EXTENDED FAMILY OR FRIEND THEY
HAVE FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES! BUT THE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM IS IN
TROUBLE ACROSS THE STATE DUE TO LACK OF STATE FUNDING FOR THE PAST SEVEN
YEARS, AND AS A RESULT MANY RESIDENTS ACROSS CALIFORNIA SUFFER AS THEIR
NEEDS GO UNMET, AND COMPLAINTS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT GO UNHEEDED AND
UNADDRESSED.

OUR GOAL IS 3500 CALLS INTO THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE IN THE NEXT 24
HOURS. IT ONLY TAKES A MINUTE TO MAKE THE CALL AND GIVE YOUR SUPPORT.

WE NEED YOUR HELP. PLEASE MAKE THAT CALL TODAY. ON BEHALF OF ALMOST
300,000 RESIDENTS IN LONG TERM CARE IN CALIFORNIA, WE THANK YOU SO
MUCH!!

SYLVIA

PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

Sylvia Taylor-Stein
Executive Director
Long Term Care Services of Ventura County, Inc.,
Ombudsman Program
2021 Sperry Avenue Suite 35
Ventura, CA 93003
T: 805-656-1986 ext 102
Fax: 805-658-8540
www.ombudsmanventura.org
a 501 (c) 3 Public Benefit Corporation
All Donations are 100% Tax Deductible

Posted in Budget Proposals, California.