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Ohio Department of Aging Press Release

Sept. 30, 2010

State Long-term Care Ombudsman defends Ohio facility residents' rights on state and national level

Oct. 3-9, 2010 is Residents' Rights Week

COLUMBUS - In recognition of Residents' Rights Week, Oct. 3-9, 2010, the Ohio Department of Aging and the Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman are highlighting ways ombudsmen advocate for people receiving home care, assisted living and nursing home care both in Ohio and on the national level. Rights that all long-term care residents enjoy include individualized care, respect, dignity, the right to visitation, the right to privacy, the right to complain and the right to make independent choices.

"The Office of the Long-term Care Ombudsman is a premier example of how Ohio is playing a prominent role in shaping state and national policies and initiatives to strengthen the voice of consumers and support excellence in care," said Barbara E. Riley, director of the department. "Working with a network of local ombudsman staff and volunteers, as well as with state and local coalitions, the state ombudsman supports the state's goals to enhance choice, independence and quality of life for aging Ohioans."

On the national level, the state ombudsman recently was invited to Baltimore and Washington D.C. to help shape and implement new provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including providing input on enhancements to the national Nursing Home Compare website. The state ombudsman also sits on the board of directors of a new nonprofit organization created to support the ongoing Advancing Excellence in Ohio's Nursing Homes campaign.

Closer to home, the ombudsman will be taking over leadership of the Person-centered Care Coalition, a collaboration of organizations representing providers, consumers and government agencies that strives to influence and support transformational culture change in long-term care environments. To learn more, visit www.centeredcare.org.

"Since the 1970s, Ohio consumers of long-term care have had a bill of rights, now supported by federal law, that safeguards their access to information, choice, safety and quality care," added Beverley Laubert, the state long-term care ombudsman. "It is the mission of Ohio's ombudsmen to ensure that all residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, board and care facilities and other long-term care settings enjoy and take full advantage of their rights."

"Your Rights as a Resident of a Nursing Home or a Residential Care Facility" is a free brochure from the Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman. Copies are available by calling 1-800-282-1206 or by visiting www.aging.ohio.gov, search keyword "residents' rights."

About the Office of the Long-term Care Ombudsman - Ohio's Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman works with regional ombudsman programs, volunteers, consumers, service providers and other state and county agencies to resolve complaints about services, helps people select service providers and offers information about benefits and consumer rights.

About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging provides leadership for the delivery of services and supports that improve and promote quality of life and personal choice for older Ohioans, adults with disabilities, their families and their caregivers. Working with 12 area agencies on aging and other community partners, the department offers home- and community-based Medicaid waiver programs such as PASSPORT, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.