Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Aging Secretary Teresa Osborne and State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Margaret Barajas visited Paxton Street Home, a licensed personal care home, and met with residents to discuss their rights as individuals living in a long-term care setting.
“The Wolf Administration acknowledges the contributions and sacrifices that many residents of the state’s long-term care facilities have made to improve communities throughout Pennsylvania,” said Secretary Osborne. “Residents’ Rights Month provides us with the opportunity to connect directly with residents, and to focus on and celebrate dignity, respect, and the rights of each resident.”
Pennsylvania’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program has over 600 local ombudsmen who have been trained to engage with residents and advocate for their rights. Ombudsmen receive confidential complaints from long-term care residents, and then work to investigate and resolve those issues. Another component of the Ombudsman Programs is its Pennsylvania Empowered Expert Residents Program, which ensures that individuals are empowered to advocate for themselves and their fellow residents. Since its inception, the PEER Program has trained over 3,000 residents.
“Our residents are individuals with unique wants and needs,” said Barajas. “Residents’ Rights Month is the perfect time to promote resident-directed care. The Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is proud to celebrate residents and their right to individual choice and self-determination.”
Across the country, residents of 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 – an annual event held in October by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care to celebrate and focus on awareness of dignity, respect, and the value of long-term care residents. The theme for 2017 is, “It’s All About Me: My Life, My Care, My Choices” with the goal of emphasizing the respect and dignity of every resident.
“I encourage all Pennsylvanians to take the steps necessary to ensure that the voices of our long-term care residents do not go unheard by visiting residents in their local facilities, participating in Resident Rights Month events, or inquiring about becoming a volunteer Ombudsman,” said Secretary Osborne.”