Your home, your life: reclaim your rights

October is Long-Term Care Residents’ Rights Month, an annual event 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 celebrate awareness of dignity, respect and the 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. The law also requires nursing homes to promote and protect the rights of each resident. State law also protects the rights of all long-term care residents. This month’s observance is a time to raise awareness of these rights, and normalize life for residents in their home, whether that is a nursing home, personal care home or assisted living community.

The 2021 theme is “Reclaiming My Rights, My Home, My Life,” emphasizing the need for residents to assert their rights, feel safe in their homes and experience good health and quality of life. We have all experienced changes in our way of life because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and long-term care residents are no different. They have had many rights curtailed or suspended, including the right to visit in-person, the right to dine as a group, the right to visit among themselves as neighbors at their facilities and the right not to be moved against their will. It is more important than ever to help residents stay connected to family and friends using technology, window visits and similar options. Residents Rights’ Month is an opportunity for residents, staff, families, ombudsman representatives and other advocates to work together and 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, visit georgiaombudsman.org or call 1-866-522-4464, option 5, to connect with an ombudsman representative.