Residents in long-term care facilities are among the most frail and vulnerable in Ventura County. Because many cannot represent themselves, they need assistance to improve their quality of life and care. The Ventura County Ombudsman Program advocates for the highest quality of life and care possible for all our elderly living in long term care facilities.
In 1978 Congress amended the Older Americans Act to establish long-term care Ombudsman (a Swedish word that means “advocate”) to serve the frail vulnerable elderly residents in long-term care facilities. This was a much-needed action and a result of the serious problems that surfaced when the nursing home industry exploded following the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.
In Ventura County, in 1981, two members of the National Council of Jewish Women founded the Ombudsman program. In 1988 the founders, Bee Ellisman and Shirley Radding, created Long Term Care Services of Ventura County, Inc., a not-for-profit charitable corporation, to administer the Ombudsman program.
The Ombudsman is trained, certified and mandated by federal and state authority to identify, investigate, and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents and to provide services to help in safeguarding their health, safety, welfare and rights. Pre-admission counseling and support group services are also provided as valuable and much-needed services. Visits are unscheduled and unannounced.
To ensure quality care, the Ombudsman coordinates with licensing and regulatory agencies as well as law enforcement.