Every year, the Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care sponsors a month-long celebration of long-term care residents’ rights in October. This year’s theme aims at the heart of our legal practice: “Speak Out Against Elder Abuse!”
The History of Residents’ Rights Month
Residents’ rights celebrations began in 1981 after nursing home residents called for a time to specifically pay tribute to residents and their rights. This time focuses on paying tribute to the people who keep dignity alive in nursing homes, as well as embracing the rights afforded by the Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987. The Consumer Voice expanded Residents Rights’ Week to Residents’ Rights Month in October 2011.
The Resident’s Voice Challenge
This year, the Consumer Voice (CV) has issued a challenge called the Resident’s Voice Challenge. In this challenge, residents from facilities across the country are invited to share their responses on four pointed questions surrounding elder abuse:
- Have you ever experienced having to speak out against elder abuse?
- Why do you think it’s important to speak out against elder abuse?
- How can you encourage others to speak out against elder abuse?
- What could facilities, families, and communities do to make residents feel safe and know that their right to be free from abuse is supported?
Residents were quite creative in responding to these questions, as shown by the many submissions posted on the CV’s website.
Other Residents’ Rights Month Activities
The CV and the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) have also created resources and activities for facilities, residents, and local ombudsmen. Additionally, the NORC provides ideas for hosting celebrations or activities of your own throughout the month, including:
- Hosting a discussion amongst residents
- Inviting advocates to speak in a public engagement
- Offering education to others so they can learn about the rights afforded to nursing home residents under national and local laws
Why You Should Care About Residents Rights’ Month
We should focus on ensuring that our loved ones receive the quality of care they deserve while in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. Even still, setting aside October each year allows us to guarantee that we will take time to honor and support residents, their care providers, advocates and organizations that support the rights of nursing home residents.
Additionally, there is power in numbers. This is especially true when it comes to sensitive themes like this year’s focus on elder & nursing home abuse. Instead of fearing consequences that may arise when speaking up alone, we all can stand together and raise our voices to fight against nursing home abuse and neglect.
Speak Out Against Elder Abuse With Us
If you witness an act of elder abuse or if you are a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, speak out. Contact your local long-term care ombudsman to learn more or reach out to The Rooth Law Firm at (800) 350-0646 or via email for legal assistance with a potential abuse or neglect claim.