Ventura County Ombudsman

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In The Media
Sylvia Taylor-Stein

"Long-term care advocate wins award"
By — Tom Kisken, 805-437-0255
Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The leader of a Ventura County ombudsman group that has led a drive to reduce the use of powerful drugs on nursing home residents suffering from dementia will receive a national award.

Sylvia Taylor-Stein, executive director of Long Term Care Ombudsman Services of Ventura County, will receive the award in October from the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. It is given each year to someone who has advocated effectively for people receiving long-term care.

'For an ombudsman, it's sort of the apex of achievement,' said Tony Chicotel of the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. He and Joseph Rodrigues, California state long-term care ombudsman, nominated Taylor-Stein. They emphasized her efforts on decreasing the reliance on antipsychotic drugs used to control behavior.

Chicotel said federal statistics that track nursing home use of medication show antipsychotic use is declining faster at nursing homes in Ventura County than in California and the U.S.

'Lots of people have been part of this, and they all deserve recognition,’ Chicotel said. 'But when it comes down to one person, it's Sylvia.' Taylor-Stein and her group organized symposiums and workshops over two years for long term care administrators, staff and doctors on an antipsychotic-medication issue that has evolved into a national movement.

Other ombudsman systems have used the programs as a model.

Taylor-Stein also formed a task force of nursing home providers who have worked to help facilities achieve what she calls “least drugging.” 

She helped elevate awareness on a complex and difficult issue, said John Gardner, administrator of Victoria Care Center nursing home in Ventura. There was once more of an adversarial relationship between watchdogs and long-term care providers over the use of antipsychotics, but that has changed, he said. 

“Early on, there was a different tone from both sides,” he said. “Over time, the awareness and the discussion has brought both sides a little closer together.” 

Taylor-Stein used to be an executive vice president of an international publishing company. She joined the Ventura County long-term care ombudsman group in 1999, inspired largely by her grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for 10 years before dying at age 92. She said the use of chemical restraints often comes when nursing home providers don’t know the stories of the people for whom they care well enough. They don’t know how to make them comfortable and happy in the facilities. 

“Some of the facilities, they’ve really stepped up,” she said of the decreasing use of the drugs. “Some are still struggling, but we have some real stars.” 

The Howard Hinds Memorial Award will be presented Oct. 26 at the Consumer Voice’s Conference in Arlington, Va. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care dates to 1975, when it was founded out of concern about substandard nursing home care. The nonprofit advocates for quality care and quality of life for long-term care consumers. 

"Local nursing homes leading movement to reduce chemical restraints"
March 7, 2013

Photo by Joseph A. Garcia, Ventura County Star
Health care professionals and nursing home administrators follow the keynote address at a symposium on alternatives to chemical restraints in long-term care.

Ventura County long-term care watchdogs and nursing homes are helping lead a national movement to reduce the use of powerful drugs aimed at controlling the behavior of people with dementia, according to leaders of a Thursday forum.

The use of antipsychotic drugs on nursing home residents in the county fell by 20 percent from 2010 to 2012, said attorney Tony Chicotel of the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, citing data from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The use of psychotropic drugs, a broader category medicine that can control the mind, emotion and behavior, fell 12 percent over the same period.

“Ventura County is an epicenter for this movement,” Chicotel said at a symposium dedicated to alternatives to so-called chemical leashes. He cited the Medicare agency’s goal to reduce the use of antipsychotics on Alzheimer’s patients and others.

“What CMS is trying to prompt the nation to do, you’ve already done,” he said. “What’s going on here is remarkable. It’s worthy of praise. It’s worthy of continuing.”

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"Watchdogs, assisted living centers fight over release of names"
By Tom Kisken
April 7, 2012

Leaders of a watchdog program designed to protect residents in Ventura County's long-term care homes say three assisted living centers are denying them information they need to do their jobs.

The conflict, spreading across California, involves rosters of resident names and room numbers. Ombudsmen who monitor the county's 200 assisted living and board and care facilities say they've received the lists without question for 30 years, using them to locate residents who make complaints about care, safety or medications.

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"Ombudsman Program of Ventura County marks 30 years of advocacy"
November 2, 2011

Photo by Juan Carlo, Ventura County Star

It was a routine knee surgery.

An 82-year-old man from the Midwest was brought to California by his daughter for what was to be a short recovery.

Several weeks later, the man became more mobile. While running errands in Ventura, he called his daughter. He was turned around and was looking for directions. It was a simple matter of being unfamiliar with the area.

His daughter made a call of her own and had him assigned to a home that specialized in Alzheimer's patients. Except her father didn't have Alzheimer's.

Read more


• CANHR - California Advocates For Nursing Home Reform
"Popular Dementia Care symposia Coming to NorCal"
August 26, 2011

REGISTER NOW FOR Dementia Care Without Drugs – A Better Approach for Long-term Care Facilities
Read the full news article

"Let them eat chocolate, says advocate of change in senior care"
By — Tom Kisken
Tuesday, August 11, 2011

At Tena Alonzo's nursing home, residents sleep as late as they want. Care schedules revolve around their convenience, not the staff's. If they're used to a small cocktail at night, they have one.
Read the full news article

"Ombudsman program serves as watchdog in nursing facilities"
By — Martha Maciel
Tuesday, July 28, 2011

Sylvia Taylor-Stein

Photo by karen Quincy Loberg/VCStar - Sylvia Taylor-Stein, executive director of
Long Term Care Services of Ventura County Inc., leads a volunteer training session
for the Ventura County Ombudsman Program recently in Ventura. The volunteers
help the elderly residents of nursing homes and long-term-care homes.

The Ventura County Ombudsman program currently is training volunteers to help the elderly in sursing and long-term-care homes.
Read the full news article

"Use of chemical restraints in nursing homes called an epidemic"
By — Tom Kisken
March 24, 2011

Ombudsman Ventura County

Photo byStephen Osman/VCStar - Sister Cristina Bocanegra of Mary Health of the Sick
skilled nursing facility in Newbury Park listens as long-term care advocates
held a toxic medicine symposium in Oxnard. Healthcare professionals, attorneys,
state regulatory agencies and Ventura County officials attended.

Nearly 25 percent of the residents in California's nursing homes are placed on antipsychotic drugs, often used as sort of a chemical leash to control behavior in a trend a watchdog called an epidemic Thursday at a symposium.
Read the full news article

"Taylor-Stein: make 'least drugging' a nursing-home norm"
By — Sylvia Taylor-Stein
Tuesday, July 28, 2011

Frail and vulnerable residents of nursing homes throughout California are being dosed with powerful anti-psychotic drugs, leading to painful spasms, tremors, lethargy, a higher risk of harmful falls, infections and even death. Making matters worse, the drugs often cause behavioral problems, leading to even more drugs.
Read the full news article

"Reform sought for state homes' monitor"
By —Tom Kisken
Tuesday, April 7, 2011

Ombudsman ventura County

Photo by Stephen osman/VCStar -

Jim Bauer, a state-certified ombudsman, checks in on patient Salvacion "Sally" Iglesia, who said "Jim is so understanding." Bauer and other volunteer ombudsmen serve as advocates who monitor long-term care facilities

"Creating a Culture of Comfort: Alternative Method for Treating patients With Dementia"
By —Cheri
Tuesday,August 14, 2011

This is an article written by Mary C. Shea, Senior Deputy Public Defender. For the past 11 years, Mary’s assignment at the Public Defender’s Office is representing members of our society requiring a conservatorship placed over them due to their inability to care for themselves personally and/or financially. Mary is one of Ventura County’s most valuable members and the seniors of our community are very fortunate to have her “in their court.” Mary attended the August 11th workshop.
Read the full news article

"Care found in county reaches both extremes"
By — Michael Collins
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A third of the nursing homes in Ventura County received low scores on the federal government’s rating system that was set up to show which facilities are doing a good or poor job providing care.
Go to our BLOG to read the full news article

"Nursing Homes, Federal ratings give just part of the story"
By — Lee Bowman and Thomas Hargrove
(Scripps Howard News Service— Editor)
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A statistical analysis of the federal government’s first ratings of nearly 16,000 nursing homes reveals an uneven level of quality across the nation and shows how complicated it is to find a good nursing home.
Go to our BLOG to read the full news article

"Senior Advocate: Ombudsmen Have Crucial Role in Elder Care"
By — Betty Berry, Ventura County Star

Q: I recently visited someone in a nursing facility and noticed a poster providing contact information for the ombudsman. I don’t know what an ombudsman does and what, if any, organization is involved.

A: The program you are asking about is the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. It is a nationwide nonprofit organization that helps ensure quality care for residents of skilled nursing and assisted-living care facilities.
Go to our BLOG to read the full article

"Your Letters"
By — Mel Silberberg, Thousand Oaks
(The writer chairs the advisory council of the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging. — Editor)
Thursday, April 30, 2009

Re: your April 26 editorial, “Elderly need a watchdog”:

The Star deserves special praise for this editorial, which advocated on behalf of an important segment of our Ventura County community: frail and vulnerable elderly people. Read full article

Editorial: Elderly need a watchdog
By Kevin Clerici
Sunday, April 26, 2009

AB935 WILL FUND OMBUDSMEN: Some are old, some will be lucky enough to grow old and most of us know and care about people who are older than we are. In other words, we all have a vested interest in ensuring the elderly are properly cared for. Read full article

Photo by Juan Carlo
Star staff

Sylvia Taylor Stein, right, and Sue Tatangelo of the Camarillo Health Care District give each other a hug on Monday. "We have to take care of each other," Taylor Stein told about 250 people at the conference.

Budget cuts threaten programs
By Kevin Clerici
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SENIORS CALLED TO ACTION: Taylor Stein said the Ventura County ombudsman program has lost nearly $50,000 as part of the $3.8 million statewide cut, and federal matching money could be lost as well. The state and federal money account for a third of her roughly $300,000 budget to manage a team of nearly 50 state-certified volunteers. Read full article

Newswire Services
January 9, 2008

VENTURA COUNTY CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION DONATES $10,000 TO LOCAL CHARITIES: Recipients of charitable funds, presented on Dec. 20, include: Long Term Care Services of Ventura County, Inc. Ombudsman Program. Read More...

November, 2006

VOLUNTEERS RECEIVE CLvFFie AWARD : Finalists have been selected in the following categories: Health Care: Jean Gordon, Isa Brente Shekter and Long Term Care of Ventura County- Ombudsman will also be honored. Read full article

By T.J. Sullivan
April, 11, 2004

COMPAINTS ABOUT NURSING HOMES CAN SIT FOR MONTHS:The California Department of Health Services is delaying the investigations of many complaints filed against nursing homes, a situation industry watchdogs say endangers the lives of society's most vulnerable elderly citizens. Read full article

By Lori Porter
January 8, 2004

OPERATION SENIOR SANTA BRINGS HOLIDAY CHEER TO THE ELDERLY: Ombudsman Long Term Care Services of Ventura County was back again this year with Operation Senior Santa (OSS), a program in which volunteers distribute holiday gifts to the more than 2,000 elderly residents in Ventura County’s 24 skilled nursing facilities.

By Massie Nitsch
November 18, 2002

NURSING HOME COMPARISONS START ON THE WEB: The data on 17,000 nursing homes that the federal government put on the Internet last week provide only a starting point for selecting homes and may not accurately measure their quality, say health-care administrators and watchdogs in Ventura County. ...“It’s a good piece in the chain of making a decision. I don’t think it’s the only piece,” said Sylvia Taylor, executive director of Long Term Care Services of Ventura County, a nonprofit organization that counsels families and inspects nursing homes. Read More...

By Alicia Doyle
July 21, 2000

HELPING ELDERLY: Volunteers are voices for residents of lon-term care homes.


Caring For The Elderly
Examples of
12 DVD Set

Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia

What to do when your loved one has dementia; how to maintain a loving relationship; symptoms of dementia; dealing with everyday issues of dementia.


Medication and Effects of Aging

Effects of aging; physical and mental changes; genetics and aging; medication and side effects for seniors; the three stages of aging.


Death & Dying

End of life – normal stage; psychological, emotional, spiritual needs; attitudes about death; the five stages of death.

Long Term Care Services of Ventura County, Inc.
Ombudsman Program

2021 Sperry Avenue - Suite 35,
Ventura CA 93003 

Tel: 805-656-1986  | Fax: 805-658-8540

Privacy Policy

Long Term Care Services of Ventura County, Inc is a 501(c)3 public benefit charitable corporation.
Corporate and individual donations are needed, welcomed and appreciated.
Funded in part by - Area Agency on Aging

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