To receive services, the individual must reside in a long-term care facility located in Kern County. While the program focuses on those residents who are 60 years of age or older, many dependent adults benefit from the Ombudsman’s advocacy. Services are provided regardless of the resident’s income or assets.
Advocacy is provided by our committed volunteers and paid staff who are certified by the State of California as Ombudsman representatives. They participate in a required 36 hour training and certification process.
The LTC Ombudsman program:
Issues and concerns made by or on behalf of residents in skilled nursing or licensed residential care facilities.
Under the law, the LTC Ombudsman program helps protect the rights of residents and responds to allegations of abuse and neglect. Issues include:
- Abuse physical, verbal, sexual, psychological, and financial
- Resident to resident abuse
- Accidental or injury of unknown origin, falls, improper handling
- Autonomy, choice, preference, exercise of rights
- Admission, transfer, discharge, eviction
- Use of chemical or physical restraints
- Personal care issues
If you have a complaint and would like to contact us, please call us at (661) 323-7884. The crisis line may also be accessed after hours at 1 (800) 231-4024.
Witnesses Advance Health Care Directives
Ombudsman representatives are trained in the witnessing of the Advance Health Care Directive (aka, Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care document). The Advance Health Care Directive designates who the resident wants to make his/her health care decisions. Ombudsman representatives witness the signing of the document within skilled nursing facilities. The Ombudsman office provides the public with the most current version of the Advance Health Care Directive. The directive and instructions for completing the directive are provided on the Resources page.
Attends Resident Meetings
Residents can request that an ombudsman representative attend their individualized care plan meeting where choice preferences, treatment options, and quality of care are discussed.
In addition, ombudsman representatives may be invited to attend resident and/or family council meetings. These meetings are comprised of residents and their family/friends who meet together to discuss and improve the quality of care for all residents.
Prevents Inappropriate Facility Transfers and Discharges
Residents in licensed facilities have very specific rights regarding the facility’s ability to transfer or discharge a resident from the facility. The LTC Ombudsman program helps residents resolve conflicts with improper eviction of residents. Many residents are unaware of eviction regulations and may become subject to improper evictions without Ombudsman intervention. For specific transfer/discharge rights, please see the Fact Sheets: Nursing Home Transfer/Discharge Rights and RCFE Eviction Protection located on our Resources page.
Provides Staff Training
The LTC Ombudsman program may provide specialized training to staff of long-term care facilities. Topics include:
- Mandated reporter training
- Resident’s rights
- Chemical/physical restraint-free environments
- Providing quality, sensitive care
Mandated Reporters can find additional information about reporting requirements and reporting forms on our Mandated Reporting tab.
Conducts Community Education
Ombudsman conduct community education and outreach to the general public through health fairs, newspaper articles, caregiver and senior programs, service clubs and other organizations. The LTC Ombudsman program office provides consumer information and publications on numerous topics affecting residents in long-term care facilities. See the events tab for upcoming scheduled events.
We provide lists of care facilities, checklists for helping to choose a facility, and assistance with reviewing licensing history. We encourage families to review admission agreements fully before signing them, and we inform about the risks associated with the signing of arbitration agreements. Ombudsman are not placement agents and do not admit anyone into skilled nursing or assisted living facilities. For assistance in choosing an appropriate care facility, please see the Fact Sheet- How to Choose a Nursing Home and the RCFE Evaluation Checklist that have been provided on our Resources page.
Provide Ombudsman Posters
Each skilled nursing facility, intermediate care facility, and licensed care facility shall post a copy of the Ombudsman posters required pursuant to Section 9718 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. Posters can be obtained by contacting our program.