The Pennsylvania Department of Aging and its Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is encouraging all Pennsylvanians to observe Residents’ Rights Month during October and assisting individuals who live in long-term care facilities in advocating for their rights through a new training program.
The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is designed to support and empower people by resolving individual complaints involving long-term care services. The department partners with Area Agencies on Aging to provide ombudsman services in each county.
The department also works with volunteers throughout the year to prevent and educate people about elder abuse. Approximately 550 Ombudsmen and volunteers, including more than 2,200 residents, have been trained through the Pennsylvania Empowered Expert Residents (PEERs) program to advocate for themselves and their fellow residents.
In observance of Residents’ Rights Month, the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program designed a survey that gathered information from PEERs and residents living in long-term care facilities. Based on the survey results, training materials were developed to provide local ombudsmen and PEERs with resources and guidance in interacting with facilities as well as a better understanding about resident rights and how to strengthen relationships with staff.
“I want to thank our dedicated network of Ombudsmen and volunteers involved with the program for their assistance in creating this training and helping to ensure that an individual living in a long-term care facility will always have someone to advocate on their behalf,” Secretary of Aging Brian Duke said. “Their hard work and commitment to their peers continues not only during this month, but year round.”
Anyone can confidentially report elder abuse by calling the 24-hour statewide Elder Abuse hotline at 1-800-490-8505, or by contacting their local Area Agency on Aging.
Residents’ Rights Month is celebrated across the nation during October to recognize individuals living in long-term care facilities and the efforts to advocate for their rights.
For more information on the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, visit www.aging.state.pa.us.