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OCTOBER 1, 2009

DOEA News Release


Governor Crist Proclaims Residents’ Rights Month to
Acknowledge, Empower Nursing Home Residents

Tallahassee – Throughout October, elders and their families, friends and caregivers will celebrate Residents’ Rights Month and honor Florida’s 160,000 seniors living in long-term care facilities. Proclaimed yesterday by Governor Charlie Crist and sponsored by Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, the month is an extension of the nationally observed Residents’ Rights Week, aimed at promoting awareness of the rights of residents living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family care homes.

A bill of residents’ rights is provided to every elder when he or she is admitted to a long-term care facility in Florida. Those rights, mandated by state and federal law, range from medication and menu issues to matters of dignity and respect.

“Our elders have given us a wealth of knowledge and enriched our lives with their parenting and grandparenting, teaching and nursing, storytelling and mentoring,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp.  “We owe it to them to recognize their value as individuals and treat them with the respect and honor they deserve.”

State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Brian Lee echoed the sentiment, stating, “Residents’ Rights Month is a great opportunity to remind everyone that we are part of the same community and that we should come together to address issues affecting some of our frailest elders.”

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program seeks to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the state’s long-term care facility residents by empowering them with knowledge about their rights and advocating on an individual level when concerns arise in a particular facility.  The program, administered by the Department of Elder Affairs, is composed of 17 local councils throughout the state with more than 450 trained volunteers working in their respective communities.  All program services, including individualized responses to residents’ concerns, are free and confidential.

For more information about the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program’s services and volunteer opportunities, or for a listing of scheduled Residents’ Rights Month activities throughout the state, call toll-free 1-888-831-0404 or visit the website at