State Calls Attention to the Residents of Long-Term Care in Observance of Residents Rights Month

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

                     Illinois Department on Aging Acting Director Michael Gelder says the

                     state advocates for more than 120,000 residents of

                     long term care facilities, including nursing homes

                     and assisted-living facilities, in Illinois.

                     Director Gelder’s comment refers to this month’s

                     Residents’ Rights observance.  The National Consumer

                     Voice for Quality Long-Term Care started the

                     observance in 1981 as a weeklong highlight on the

                     importance of resident focused care.  This year, the

                     observance is extended to the full month of October.

                     “Residents of long term care facilities are some of

                     the most vulnerable of our communities.  We have to

                     make sure the residents get the best care and are

                     treated with dignity.  These basic standards ensure

                     the residents’ quality of life,” said acting director

                     Gelder.

                     Gelder chaired the Nursing Home Safety Task Force,

                     when, in 2009, Governor Pat Quinn charged the task

                     force with examining state procedures and industry

                     practices in order to ensure all Illinois nursing

                     home residents are safe and receive the treatment

                     appropriate for their condition.  The task force’s

                     efforts led to historic legislation Senate Bill 326

                     (Public Act 096-1372) to transform the nursing home

                     system of admission and screening.

                     In Illinois, the Department of Public Health

                     licenses, regulates and inspects long term care

                     facilities.  And the Department on Aging’s Long Term

                     Care Ombudsman Program serves as another safeguard.

                     The Ombudsman Program is a resident centered advocacy

                     program which makes every effort to assist, empower,

                     represent, and intervene on behalf of  residents in

                     long term care facilities, supportive living

                     facilities, and assisted living and shared housing

                     establishments.  The Long Term Care Ombudsmen inform

                     residents and their families of their rights; resolve

                     any complaints or issues; provide information on

                     resident’s needs and concerns to their families,

                     facility staff and their community; and provide

                     support for the resident’s good individualized care.

                     In observance of this year’s Residents’ Rights Month

                     theme Welcome Home: Creating Connections Between

                     Residents and the Community, the National Consumer

                     Voice for Quality Long-Term Care challenges the

                     public to think of creative ways to involve long term

                     care residents in the community and to invite the

                     community to visit facilities in the month of October

                     and throughout the year.

                     In collaboration with long term care associations and

                     advocacy organizations, the Department on Aging

                     worked with the Illinois Attorney General’s office to

                     create the Consumer Choice Information Report.  As

                     per state law, each year, long term care facilities

                     are required to complete the Consumer Choice

                     Information Report.  To find out more, log on to the

                     IDoA website at www.state.il.us/aging/ccir/index.htm.

                     For more information about programs and services to

                     help older adults and their families, contact the

                     Department on Aging’s Senior HelpLine at

                     1-800-252-8966, or for TTY (hearing impaired use

                     only) call 1-888-206-1327.