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Ohio Department of Aging Press Release

Oct. 17, 2011

State Long-term Care Ombudsman reminds Ohioans that nursing home residents have rights and the resources to maintain and uphold them

Ohio commemorates Residents' Rights Week, Oct. 17-23, 2011

COLUMBUS - Ohioans who choose to live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities retain the rights they always had, but they also gain additional rights that pertain to the quality of the care they receive and the quality of life they live. During Residents' Rights Week, Oct. 17-23, 2011, the Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman is educating facility residents and their families and caregivers about these rights and more.

"Regardless of the settings they call 'home,' our elders and other adults who need help with daily activities have the right to be vital and respected members of society who continue to grow, thrive and contribute," said Bonnie Kantor-Burman, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, which houses the ombudsman's office. "High-quality long-term services and supports are built around the individual's needs and preferences, provide choice, help him retain his independence and allow him to live a purposeful life."

Residents of nursing homes and residential care facilities (assisted living) have the right to make themselves at home, surround themselves with their belongings, have visitors and pursue their own interests. They have the right to know what their health condition is, to decide how they will be cared for and to receive the care they need. They have the right to decide when they get up and when they go to bed, as well as how they will spend their days, including the right to participate in activities inside and outside the facility.

When it comes to the care they receive, residents have the right to know what services are available, how much they cost and what resources are available to help pay for them. They also have the right to help plan their treatment and choose their care providers. They have the right to private communications, as well as privacy in the provision and tracking of their care. They have the right to be free from abuse and neglect, discrimination and being restrained against their will. Most importantly, facility residents have the right to voice complaints and seek help regarding the quality of care they receive.

"Honoring and respecting the voice of our elders begins with ensuring that their rights are upheld, and that starts with making sure that they - and all those who are responsible for providing and coordinating their care - are aware of and believe in those rights," added Beverley Laubert, the state long-term care ombudsman. "When we seek out and provide care that is focused on the person receiving it, we make their lives and the lives of their caregivers more meaningful."

The ombudsman's office works with paid and volunteer regional ombudsman staff to help consumers of long-term care know their rights and work with the facility to find solutions for problems that are preventing the residents' rights from being honored. To learn more and to request a free copy of the brochure "Your Rights as a Resident of a Nursing Home or Residential Care Facility," call 1-800-282-1206, or visit www.aging.ohio.gov, search keyword "residents' rights."

Also this week, the Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman launched its page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/OhioLTCOmbudsman) to give consumers and their families a new way to learn about residents rights and person-centered care.

About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging provides leadership for the delivery of services and supports that improve and promote quality of life and personal choice for older Ohioans, adults with disabilities, their families and their caregivers. Working with 12 area agencies on aging and other community partners, the department offers home- and community-based Medicaid waiver programs such as PASSPORT, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.


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