October is National Long-Term Care Residents’ Rights Month, a time to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices many long-term care (LTC) residents have made to better our community and to call attention to the rights of residents in long-term care facilities.
This year's theme – Speak Out Against Elder Abuse – was selected to call attention to the fact that elder abuse is an issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The abuse of long-term care residents is an occurrence that not many people like to acknowledge or report. It is important that the elderly are given a sense that this social issue isn’t simply being ignored.
By speaking out against this serious problem, we honor the lives and experiences of the elderly as well as treat them with dignity and respect; staff and residents can enjoy relationships with long-term care residents that enhance their day-to-day lives; and the long-term care facility can operate more effectively in its daily activities when based on and developed with consumer trust and involvement. Many people care about residents – family members, citizen advocates, long term care ombudsmen, facility staff and others.
This care can be truly individualized and focused on each person’s needs and preferences. During Residents’ Rights Month, we recognize our local long-term care ombudsman program staff and volunteers, who work daily to promote residents’ rights, assist residents with complaints and provide information to those who need to find a long-term care facility.
In this area, the ombudsman program serves the Catawba Region, which includes York, Chester, Union and Lancaster counties. To contact the local ombudsman, call Catawba Area Agency on Aging at 803-329-9670 or toll free 800-662-8330.
As the Catawba Region celebrates residents’ rights, I encourage community members to visit those they know in a long-term care facility, volunteer in a facility, participate in Residents’ Rights Month 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.
Long-term care ombudsman