Letter to the Editor

Residents' rights week observed

Thursday, September 13, 2007

To the editor:Oct. 7 to 13 is National Long-Term Care Residents' Rights Week, a time to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices many long-term care residents have made to better our community. This year's theme, Advancing Excellence: A Resident's Perspective on Quality, encourages these residents to speak up about what the quality of care and life in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities or residential-care facilities means to them. It also encourages facilities to value their residents' opinions and include their perspectives in their efforts to provide excellence in caregiving.

We want to recognize our local long-term care ombudsman staff and volunteers who promote residents' rights, assist residents with complaints and provide information to those who need to find a long-term care facility. The ombudsman program of Southeast Missouri Area Agency on Aging serves 18 counties with more than 170 facilities. The program has more than 40 trained ombudsman volunteers.

I encourage community members to visit someone they know in a long-term care facility, volunteer in a facility, participate in resident's rights week events or inquire about becoming a volunteer long-term care ombudsman. Your assistance and attention helps to ensure that the voices of long-term care residents do not go unheard and demonstrates to residents that they have not been forgotten.

If you are interest in knowing more about the ombudsman program or are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact me at 573-3331 or (800) 392-8771.

JAN McFERRON, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Director, Southeast Missouri Area Agency on Aging, Cape Girardeau