October is Residents’ Rights Month


October is Residents’ Rights Month. Every year, the nation celebrates the specific rights that protect residents of long-term care facilities under both federal and state laws. These rights are part of the Nursing Home Reform Law that was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1987.

The two key provisions of this law focus on “quality of life” and “quality of care”.

The quality of life provision places emphasis on dignity, choice, and self-determination for every nursing home resident.

Quality of care means that each nursing home is required to provide services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident according to a written plan of care. In other words, the resident should not decline as a direct result of the care they received in the nursing home.

Specific rights listed in the law can be organized into such categories as: rights related to privacy and confidentiality; security of possessions; right to complain; rights to dignity, respect and freedom; rights during transfer or discharge; rights to be fully informed; to participate in their own care; and rights to make independent choices.

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is also mandated by Federal Law. Ombudsmen are advocates for nursing home residents and their rights. Ombudsmen visit residents in long-term care facilities in order to provide them companionship; education about their rights; and to help them resolve any complaints or concerns they may have.

The Green River District Ombudsman provides training for people who may be interested in becoming a volunteer with the program. Our volunteers make a big difference in the lives of long-term care residents. The volunteers, in turn, find satisfaction in knowing that they have made such a difference.

For further information about the program or training opportunities, you may contact the District Ombudsman, Sheila Howard at 270-926-4433 or sheilahoward@gradd.com.

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