PHOENIX, Ariz. (Sept. 30, 2021): Home is where you live. For 1.4 million Americans, that is a nursing home. Another 1 million, including more than 11,000 in Arizona, live in assisted living facilities.
“Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that people living in nursing homes or long-term care facilities deserve respect, dignity and the right to manage and even reclaim their own lives,” said Regan Smith, director of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at the Area Agency on Aging. “That’s why Residents’ Rights Month in October is so important because it puts the focus on the awareness of dignity, respect and the value of long-term care residents.”
The theme of this year’s annual celebration, Reclaiming My Rights, My Home, My Life,“acknowledges the impact of the past year on residents and highlights the need for residents’ rights to be recognized, recovered and reasserted,” Smith said.
“Long-term care facilities are homes of thousands of Arizona residents,” she added. “Residents’ Rights Month brings the issue into focus, but it should be happening all year.”
State and federal guidelines protect residents’ rights in nursing homes and assisted living 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.
The Area Agency on Aging’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
promotes residents’ rights, advocates for quality of life and care, conducts community education sessions and supports residents and their families with information regarding the long-term care system.
“Long-Term Care Ombudsman volunteers are crucial to protecting these vital residents’ rights,” Smith said.
Additional volunteers are being sought to visit and talk with residents living in nursing homes and assisted living about their rights and concerns, monitor the conditions in facilities, identify problem areas and advocate for change.
“We are grateful to the Arizona State Legislature for additional funding for more staff Ombudsmen to protect the residents’ rights and care in Arizona nursing homes and assisted living facilities,” Smith said.
For more information on Residents’ Rights and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, to inquire about volunteering or to schedule a presentation to your facility staff and residents, visit aaaphx.org or call 24-Hour Senior HELP LINE 602-264-HELP (4357)
For more information about the Area Agency on Aging, visit www.aaaphx.org.