Long-term care residents honored during Residents’ Rights Month

Published 10:38 am Saturday, September 19, 2015

By Sally Krall LBSW, Staff Ombudsman

Special to The Leader


Across the country, residents of nursing homes and other 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. 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 2015 is, “CARE Maters” with the goal of highlighting quality care.

The Nursing Home Reform Law, passed in 1987, guarantees nursing home residents their individual 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.

Local long-term care facilities are planning special activities for the month of October to highlight Residents’ Rights Month. Annette Davis, Activity Director for Pinehurst Nursing and Rehabilitation plans to play Residents’ Rights Bingo throughout the month as well as host a Family Night for the residents and their loved ones. The family night will take place on Thursday, October 15, beginning at 5:30 p.m.. Dee Hanchett, Activity Director for the Meadows of Orange will be hosting a “Happy Hour” for the residents October 13. Nancy Kendall, Managing Local Ombudsman will be on hand to speak on residents’ rights.

Andy Hill, Administrator for Pinehurst Nursing and Rehab plans to have a few residents present when the Orange County Commissioners’ Court issues a proclamation Monday, September 21 at 2 p.m., declaring October Residents’ Rights Month.

The staff and volunteer ombudsmen for Southeast Texas plan to deliver a tote bag, along with a copy of Residents’ Rights to each long-term care resident living in Orange County.

The National Long-Term Ombudsman Program has worked for more than 30 years to promote residents’ rights daily. More than 8,000 volunteers and 1,000 paid staff are advocates for residents in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. Locally, Managing Local Ombudsman Nancy Kendall oversees the ombudsman program. She supervises 1 staff ombudsman and 14 volunteers who serve nearly 2500 residents residing in the long-term care facilities of Orange, Jefferson and Hardin Counties.

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 consultations regarding long-term care.

Anyone needing assistance or wishing to become a certified volunteer ombudsman may call 1-800-395-5465 for assistance.