Did you ever wonder what the Ombudsmen Program is and how they help? Many families are not aware of this free service that can help resolve and investigate issues that your loved one may be facing while in a residential care facility. The Ombudsman Program of Ventura is a non-profit program mandated by the Federal Older Americans Act, that relies heavily on volunteer Ombudsmen to carry out the responsibilities of regularly weekly visits to the facilities and investigate complaints according to Sylvia Taylor Stein Executive Director of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program of Ventura County.
When a family calls the Ombudsmen program, the initial investigation process begins. Depending on the severity of the complaint, it can take one day to one week for the volunteer Ombudsman to make the visit. At that time, the Ombudsman will ask questions to the related complaint with the resident in which at that time, it is up to the resident to give consent to the Ombudsman to follow through the complaint at the State level. If the resident does not wish to pursue to the State level, the complaint is closed at that time. “ Many families are unaware that if their loved one is able to speak on their behalf, the Ombudsman must respect that resident’s wishes regardless of family involvement “ according to Sylvia Taylor Stein. The program also provides awareness with educational informational presentations in communities such as Skilled Nursing Facilities or Residential Care Facilities, provides referrals for information regarding Health Care Counseling and Advocacy Program , Medi-Cal and Medi-Care.
For more information about the Ombudsman Program or how to become a volunteer please call 656-1986 or go on-line to www.OmbudsmanVentura.org.