It’s Residents’ Rights Month!
Washington DC- Across the country, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities along with family members, Ombudsman program representatives, citizen advocates, facility staff, and others will honor the individual rights of long-term care residents by celebrating Residents’ Rights Month. Residents’ Rights Month is an annual event held in October by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) to celebrate and focus on awareness of dignity, respect, and the value of long-term care residents.
The theme for Residents’ Rights Month 2021, “Reclaiming My Rights, My Home, My Life,” acknowledges the impact of this past year on residents, and highlights the need for residents’ rights to be recognized, recovered, and reasserted. It emphasizes the recognition of the long-term care facility as the residents’ home, and the importance of residents reclaiming their own lives.
“This year’s Residents’ Rights Month theme focuses on raising awareness of federally mandated residents’ rights while also underscoring the need for dignity and self-determination of all residents.,” said Lori Smetanka, Executive Director of the Consumer Voice.
The Nursing Home Reform Law, passed in 1987, guarantees nursing home residents their rights, including but not limited to: individualized care, respect, dignity, the right to visitation, the right to privacy, the right to complain, and the right to make independent choices. Residents who have made their home in other types of facilities. Residents’ Rights Month raises awareness about these rights and pays tribute to the unique contributions of long-term residents.
The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program has worked for nearly 50 years to promote residents’ rights daily. More than 5,900 volunteers and 1,300 paid staff are advocates for residents in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Authorized under the Older Americans Act and administered by the Administration on Aging, the program also provides information on how to find a facility, conducts community education sessions, and supports residents, their families, and the public with one-on-one consultation regarding long-term care.
ACCA’s mission is to promote a lifetime of wellness through engagement, advocacy, education, and support. Our East Region Long Term Care Ombudsman Representatives (LTCO) are working on our mission today and every day, in serving 25 counties in East Georgia. In the past year, COVID-19 has caused major disruptions in all of our lives, but none have been as severely impacted as the residents of Long-Term Care Facilities. Restrictions have been imposed on resident’s rights including visitation, communal activities, and the way care is received. Our LTCO program has continued to work and to advocate for residents throughout this past year. We began to work virtually from March 2020 through September 2020 and were able to stay connected with those that were so isolated. We are thrilled to be back in facilities, since October 2020 working in-person to empower residents we serve at a time when they need us most. COVID-19 and other issues remain at this time, but we press on and are excited about the opportunity that October/Resident’s Rights month brings to us. We want to educate and remind residents, families, staff, and the community at large that life may bring many changes; but it is time to look toward the future and rebuild relationships, strengthen weaknesses, celebrate strengths and reclaim resident’s rights. If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to ACCA’s LTCO program at (706) 549-4850.