A Time To Celebrate

Post Register
Printed on Saturday, October 3, 2009

The community should not forget about those living in long-term care facilities, writes Helen E. Stanton.

National Long-Term Care Residents' week is being celebrated across the United States. Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership, the Area VI Agency on Aging and Ombudsman Program V.O.I.C.E., (Volunteer Ombudsmen, Improving Care for our Elders), is joining assisted living and skilled nursing facility staff, families, friends and ombudsmen from across the nation to acknowledge the many contributions and sacrifices our long-term care residents have made to better our community.

This year's theme, "Hear Our Voice, Residents Speak Out About Residents' Rights," was selected to call attention to the fact that residents of long-term care facilities have a voice, and that voice should be heard when it comes to their care, and being treated with dignity and respect.

When one listens to a resident, it lets the resident retain their full individuality as staff and residents begin to enjoy their day-to-day lives.

The long-term care facility will operate more effectively when its day-to-day activities are based on and developed by people who live there. Many people, ombudsmen, facility staff members, community members and family, work toward those goals, which focus on each person's needs and preferences. They listen and care.

Long-term care ombudsmen work daily to promote residents' rights, assist residents with complaints and provide information to those looking for a long-term care facility.

During Residents' Rights Week, they will assist facilities in recognizing that dignity and respect are the keys in providing quality care.

As eastern Idaho celebrates Residents' Rights, let's encourage community members to visit someone they know in a long-term care facility, volunteer in a facility, participate in Residents' Rights Week 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.

Stanton is the volunteer ombudsman coordinator for the Area VI Agency on Aging. You can contact her at 357 Constitution Way in Idaho Falls or by calling 522-5391.