Consider volunteering at nursing home

DEAR EDITOR:

October has been Residents’ Rights Month, a time designated by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care to honor residents living in long-term care facilities. This is an opportunity to focus on and celebrate the dignity, respect and rights of each resident.

As guaranteed in the federal Nursing Home Reform Law, emphasis is placed on individual dignity, choice and self-determination. The law also requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident.” October is meant to raise awareness of and celebrate long-term care residents. This year’s theme is “All About Me: My Life, My Care, My Choices.”

During this time, we also recognize Area Agency on Aging 11’s Long-term Care Ombudsman Program, staff and volunteers who tirelessly advocate for excellence in care, residents’ choices and quality in their lives.

Ombudsmen visit nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties. In the first three weeks of October, the Ombudsman Program has received 60 new complaints, such as personal hygiene, missing items, abuse and food choices.

You can help to bring a voice to nursing home residents by visiting a long-term care facility, volunteering or becoming a Volunteer Ombudsman associate.

We welcome you to join us as a residents’ rights advocate. To report residents’ rights issues or to learn about the Long-term Care Ombudsman Volunteer Program, call 800-589-5826.

MAXWELL BUMGARDNER

Ombudsman Volunteer

Coordinator

Area Agency on Aging 11, Inc., Niles

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