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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 16, 2010
COLUMBUS - Because nursing home residents' needs for visitors and social interaction doesn't end with the holidays, the Ohio Department of Aging and the Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman designate the week between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve each year as Visit a Nursing Home Week. By working with facility management, local organizations and advocates for residents, state officials hope to send the message that visits to nursing homes by individuals, families and groups help brighten the residents' day and enhance their quality of life, thus shouldn't be reserved just for holidays and special occasions.
"Residents of Ohio's nearly 1,000 nursing homes are individuals with thoughts, feelings and needs for socialization, just like you and me," said Barbara E. Riley, director of the department. "Many of them are isolated from the ones they love and, while they appreciate the fellowship many people share by visiting during the holidays, they also would probably love regular visits year-round."
Contact your local nursing homes and ask for social services, activities or administration staff to inquire about residents who would welcome a visit. Or, ask if they would welcome a visit or presentation by your church, school, youth or civic group. Learn about visiting hours, gift or food restrictions and their policies on children and pets. You can find facilities in your area by visiting the Long-term Care Consumer Guide at www.ltcohio.org.
"By visiting a nursing home and its residents, you can bring them joy and help them stay connected to the community and the world around them," added Beverley Laubert, the State Long-term Care Ombudsman. "But perhaps more importantly, you have the opportunity to support excellent care by becoming an advocate."
Besides just visiting a nursing home occasionally, another way to become an advocate is to volunteer with your local ombudsman program. Volunteer ombudsman associates make regular visits to assigned nursing homes, record observations about the facility and engage residents in conversation. They ask about problems or concerns residents may have regarding care and services provided at the facility. Associates make residents feel comfortable and let them know they have an advocate on their side. Call 1-800-282-1206 to learn more.
Additionally, you can join the national Advancing Excellence campaign, which is an initiative of care providers, consumers, advocates, government agencies and others that helps nursing homes make a difference in the lives of residents and staff. Visit www.nhqualitycampaign.org to learn more.
Tips for visitors:
Tips for nursing homes:
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.
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