October is Residents’ Rights Month 2012!

As we enter into election season, let us remember that residents of nursing homes, assisted livings and other long-term care residences do not lose their right to vote because of where they live.

As an annual event, the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (the “Consumer Voice”) has designated October as Residents’ Rights Month to celebrate the importance of the Nursing Home Reform law of 1987. The federal law was enacted to ensure quality of life, quality of care, and dignity, while promoting and protecting the rights of each resident. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have enacted similar state laws.

With the impending election this year, the Consumer Voice has chosen the theme “My Voice, My Vote, My Right”. The mission is to stress the value of long-term care residents and ensure residents of nursing homes, assisted living, and other long-term care services have access to participate in their right and responsibility as a United States citizen in the political process.
Suggestions of ways facilities can help residents participate this year’s theme and give them avenues to vote and express their opinions, include:

Facilities can encourage voting by assisting residents to register to vote;

Facilities can help residents access absentee ballots;

Facilities can hold candidate forums, inviting politicians to come and speak to residents;

Facilities can work with their community to try to offer mobile polling; and

Staff can encourage residents to write letters to political representatives to express their opinions.

For more information and suggestions and for how to participate in the Consumer Voice’s Residents’ Voice Challenge 2012 visit their website at:
For more information about the rights of residents of nursing homes, assisted living, and other long-term care facilities and services please visit:
The Gruber Firm:

NJ Office of the Ombudsmen for the Institutionalized Elderly: http://www.nj.gov/ooie/pdf/residents_rights.pdf
PA Department of Health: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/nursing_home_care/14152/department_of_aging_brochure_-_know_your_rights_as_a_nursing_home_resident/558482

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