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An advocate for long-term care residents and their families. The LTC Ombudsman program: receives, investigates, and resolves 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
The local Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program serves as the first line of defense for residents of care facilities, making unannounced facility visits and assisting residents in licensed facilities, such as skilled nursing facilities (nursing homes) and residential care facilities for the elderly (assisted living facilities).
The Kern County Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is directed by Ms. Devora Gonzalez. Ms. Gonzalez has been with the program for almost a decade, and her dedication to the advocacy for seniors has increased awareness of the rights of the residents she serves throughout Kern County. Ms. Gonzalez’ was trained well by her predecessor, Ms. Nona Tolentino. Many in the community fondly remember the spirit with which Ms. Tolentino advocated for the residents she served for over a decade as the director of the program.
Ms. Nona was instrumental in the State Attorney General’s 2009 case against employees at a skilled nursing facility, where two dozen residents were illegally drugged and three residents died from chemical restraints. Nona brought the case to the attention of state officials and the subsequent criminal prosecutions helped generate the momentum for a national effort to curb misuse of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes.