State calls attention to the residents of long-term care in
observance of Residents' Rights Month
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SPRINGFIELD -- With respect to
the observance of Residents' Rights Month, Illinois Department on
Aging Director John K. Holton, Ph.D., says the department works to
make sure that residents living in long-term care facilities are not
forgotten, are safe and receive quality care.
"In addition to providing services for older adults to remain living
in their homes and communities, the department's
Term Care Ombudsman Program serves as advocates for residents of
long-term care facilities," said Holton. "We have to lend our
support to ensure all nursing home residents are safe and that their
voices are heard. The ombudsmen oftentimes become the voice for
residents and are their most trusted advocate."
Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care started the Residents'
Rights observance in 1981 to highlight the importance of
While the Department of Public Health handles regulation,
licensing and inspections of long-term care facilities, the
ombudsman program serves as another safeguard.
Ombudsmen assist, empower, represent and intervene on behalf of
the more than 100,000 residents in skilled and intermediate licensed
facilities, supportive living facilities, and assisted living and
shared housing establishments. Ombudsmen inform residents and their
families of their rights; resolve complaints or issues; provide
information on a resident's needs and concerns to their families,
facility staff and their community; and provide support for a
resident's individualized care, which is also referred to as
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"Residents living in long-term care facilities are the vulnerable
population. Resolving complaint investigations continue to be our
number one priority of ombudsman service. We want to know they are
getting the best care and are treated with dignity, which are the
basic standards for a resident's quality of life," said Sally
Petrone, state ombudsman.
In 2009, Gov. Pat Quinn formed the Nursing Home Task Force to
examine state procedures and industry practices in order to ensure
all Illinois nursing home residents are safe and receive the
treatment appropriate for their condition. The task force's efforts
led to historic legislation through Senate Bill 326 (Public
Act 096-1372), which ultimately will transform the Illinois
nursing home system.
For more information about programs and services to help older
adults and their families, contact the Department on Aging's Senior
HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966, or for hearing-impaired use only, call
Department on Aging file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]