October 4, 2011

Long-Term Care Residents' Rights Month

October is National Long-Term Care Residents’ Rights Month, a time to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices many long-term care (LTC) residents have made to better our community and to call attention to the rights of residents in long-term care facilities.  This year’s theme- Welcome Home: Creating Connections Between Residents and the Community, was selected to call attention to the fact that residents of LTC facilities are still an important and valuable part of our local communities.  Residents of LTC facilities have had experiences most of us can only dream of.  They are the founders of the communities we live in and what we have as a community is due to their hard work and contributions.  As a community, we need to involve residents in our activities—such as Boy and Girl Scout functions, community forums, election rallies and annual community events.

By listening to resident’s voices, we honor their lives and experiences as well as treat them with dignity and respect; staff and residents can enjoy relationships that enhance their day-to-day lives; and the long term care facility can operate more effectively in its daily activities when based on and developed with consumer involvement.  Many people care about residents – family members, citizen advocates, long-term care ombudsmen, facility staff and others.  This care can be truly individualized and focused on each person’s needs and preferences.

Celebrate and acknowledge these rights by participating in Residents’ Rights Month events by calling on your elected officials and local facilities to show their support by attending or organizing activities.  Our local Mayors have been very supportive by issuing proclamations and attending functions.  Let’s get our other elected officials involved.

During Residents’ Rights Month, we recognize our long-term care ombudsman program staff and volunteers, who work daily to promote residents’ rights, assist residents with complaints and provide information to those who need to find a long-term care facility.  In this area, the ombudsman program continually serves 1200 LTC residents in 40 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.  These facilities are spread over nine counties which cover approximately 21,000 square miles.

As Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership, Area VI Agency on Aging and the Ombudsman Program celebrate Residents’ Rights, community members are encouraged to visit those they know in a long-term care facility, volunteer in a facility, participate in Residents’ Rights Month events or inquire about becoming a volunteer long-term care ombudsman.  Your assistance and attention helps to ensure that the voices of long-term care residents do not go unheard and demonstrates to residents that they have not been forgotten.

To volunteer to become a long-term care ombudsman, contact Helen Stanton or Marie Peterson at 208-522-5391.

Helen E. Stanton
E.I.C.A.P. Ombudsman Program

Community Action Agencies were established to fight the War on Poverty in 1964. Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership, located at 935 E Lincoln Rd in Idaho Falls serves the nine eastern Idaho counties with services to help low-income individuals become independent and self-sufficient. EICAP is one of over 1,000 Community Action Agencies in the United States that provide services to every county in the nation.