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October 9, 2007

Illinois Department on Aging honors all long-term care residents during Residents Rights Week in Illinois
Week highlights importance of resident-focused care

SPRINGFIELD – During National Residents’ Rights Week, the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) is honoring and calling attention to the state’s more than 100,000 citizens who reside in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.  Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed October 7-13, 2007, as Residents’ Rights Week in Illinois.

“Residents’ Rights Week is a time to honor the family members, staff, advocates and residents who promote and ensure that dignity, privacy and other basic human rights are maintained for the residents living in long-term care settings,” said IDoA Director Charles D. Johnson.

IDoA administers the Illinois Long Term Care Ombudsman program. The state’s Long Term Care Ombudsmen protect, defend and advocate for residents in long term care facilities, supportive living facilities, and assisted living and shared housing establishments.  The Long Term Care Ombudsmen inform residents and their families of their rights; resolve any complaints or issues; provide information on resident’s needs and concerns to their families, facility staff and their community; and advocate for good individualized care.

Under the federal Older Americans Act, every state is required to have an ombudsman program that addresses complaints and advocates for improvements in the long term care system, including choice of care, respect, dignity, the right to vote, the right to visitation, the right to privacy, the right to complain and the right to make independent choices.

“This year’s theme ‘Advancing Excellence:  A Residents’ Perspective on Quality’ emphasizes the fact that residents of long-term facilities, regardless of where they live, still have freedoms including the right to voice their opinions and concerns.  The Illinois Department on Aging is committed to supporting the rights of nursing-home residents by working every day to assure that every older person in this state is treated with respect and dignity.  We are dedicated to ensure our residents receive the highest quality of care and life that they deserve,” Director Charles D. Johnson added.
The full text of Governor’s proclamation follows:

Whereas,  there are 1.7 million individuals living in 17,000 nursing homes throughout the United States, and another 1 million individuals living in 46,000 other care/assisted living facilities; and

Whereas,  residents of long-term care facilities include those whose dedicated service during World War II and hard work in the post-war years made this nation great; and

Whereas,  the federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 guarantees residents their individual rights in order to promote and maintain their dignity and autonomy; and

Whereas,  all residents should learn their rights so they may be empowered to live with dignity and self-determination; and

Whereas,  we wish to honor and celebrate these citizens, to recognize their rich individuality, and to reaffirm their rights as community members and citizens, including the right to vote; and

Whereas,  the Illinois Department on Aging Long Term Care Ombudsman Program works to advocate, defend and protect the rights of these citizens; and

Whereas,  individuals and groups across the country will be celebrating Residents’ Rights Week from October 7-13.  The theme this year is “Advancing Excellence:  A Residents’ Perspective on Quality,” which emphasizes the importance of affirming these rights through facility practices, public policy and resident-centered decision-making that impacts quality of care and quality of life:

Therefore, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim October 7 – 13, 2007 as NATIONAL LONG-TERM CARE RESIDENTS’ RIGHTS WEEK in Illinois, and reaffirm my commitment and dedication to ensuring the best care and treatment for residents of long-term care facilities.

For more information on the week’s celebration or for help locating the Long-term Care Ombudsman in your area, call the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (888-206-1327 TTY).


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