Honor long-term care residents during Residents' Rights Month

Many of us have no problem expressing our concern when we feel our rights are being violated. But, have you thought about the rights of residents who live in a long-term care facility? Do a person’s rights change when they are no longer completely independent?

October is Residents' Rights Month, an annual observance to honor those living in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living communities. It is an opportunity to focus on and raise awareness for the dignity, respect and rights of each resident. The federal Nursing Home Reform Law guarantees residents’ rights, and places a strong emphasis on individual dignity, choice and self-determination. This law also requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident.” Georgia state law protects the rights of all long-term care residents.

The 2020 theme for Residents’ Rights Month, “Connection Matters,” emphasizes connection – to family, friends and the community – as an essential component of good health and quality of life for residents. During the pandemic, in-person visits at facilities are restricted. It is more important than ever to help residents stay connected with family and friends using technology, window visits and other safe options. Residents’ Rights Month is an opportunity for residents, long-term care facility staff, families, ombudsman representatives and other advocates to work together in order to promote quality long-term care.

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program gives a voice to resident concerns, advocates for system and legislative changes, addresses complaints and provides information and assistance to long-term care residents. To learn more about Residents’ Rights Month, please visit georgiaombudsman.org or call 1-866-552-4464, option 5, to connect with one of our ombudsman representatives.