Senior Voice -

By Stephanie Wheeler
Alaska Long Term Care Ombudsman 

Celebrating long-term care residents' rights

 

October 1, 2022 | View PDF



Across the country, residents of long-term care facilities along with family members, ombudsmen, citizen advocates, facility staff and others will honor the individual rights of long-term care residents by celebrating Residents’ Rights Month in October. Setting aside a month to focus on rights is an effective way to ensure this important topic is recognized in our community and state.

Residents’ Rights Month is celebrated each year to highlight residents living in all long-term care settings. It is a time to reflect on the importance of the Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987 that promises quality of life, quality of care and rights for each resident. The month of October is also an opportunity to give special recognition to the work of thousands of individuals who collaborate daily to help assure dignity, privacy and other basic human rights – often taken for granted in the community – are maintained as an integral part of the lives of residents living in long-term care settings.

Throughout the pandemic, residents of long-term care facilities were disconnected from the resident and staff communities within their facilities when activities and group dining were limited. Residents were disconnected from the broader local community when visitation was restricted, and many residents were unable to leave their facilities to participate in outside activities. Being a part of a community is essential to our well-being. This year’s Residents’ Rights Month theme – “Inspiring Unity within Our Community” – emphasizes the importance of fostering meaningful community within the facility and encouraging residents’ connection to their local community.

During Residents’ Rights Month, we also recognize the work of our agency partners as well as the state Long-Term Care Ombudsman program staff and volunteers, who work collaboratively to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents and to promote residents’ rights, assist residents with complaints and provide information to those who need to find a long-term care facility. In Alaska, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program advocates for seniors in more than 300 assisted living homes and 20 skilled nursing facilities across our great state.

As we celebrate Residents’ Rights, I encourage community members to connect with those they know who live in long-term care facilities, participate in Residents’ Rights Month events, or inquire about becoming a volunteer long-term care ombudsman. Your assistance helps to ensure that the voices of residents living in long-term care settings do not go unheard and demonstrates to residents that they have not been forgotten.

Please reach out to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s Office to inquire about what we do or to ask about our volunteer program. You can visit our website at http://www.akoltco.org or call our office at 1-800-730-6393.

 
 

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