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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

October 9, 2012

Consumer Voice's Facebook First Friday Encourages Dialogue About Residents' Rights

Last Friday, Consumer Voice held a successful Facebook First Friday engaging advocates to discuss Residents’ Rights Month topics. Some highlights:

With regard to what it means for long-term care consumers to be politically active:
Marianne Flak: “A few years ago, I worked in a facility where there was a woman who was a suffragette...She had some dementia...No one really took the time to listen to her...As she wheeled her chair through the hallways...sometimes bumping into others just to get some attention. “Hey look I am here!” I stopped and listened....She smiled up at me, those piercing blue eyes looking right into mine, “we got to vote! We got to vote, took a long time and a lot of work but we go to vote!” Residents are given the opportunity to vote indeed...however they need help! We all need to be more engaged in the conversation...There are ways to do this while maintaining integrity, enriching our personal dignity while enhancing the dignity of our elders. Politicians indeed must have a plan for preventing abuse in nursing homes, and other long term care facilities…Politicians should spend some time in a facility... to see what can go on....imagine themselves as a resident...then come back to policy making...”

With regard to why it's important for a long-term care consumer to have the right to vote:
Erin Jones Pettegrew: “I think it keeps them connected to the community - to feel that their world doesn't stop at the nursing home door. And, maybe more importantly, it keeps them in the community of voters that politicians care about!”

Visit our Facebook page to read more about what advocates had to say about residents’ rights.

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Advocates Across the Country Are Celebrating Residents' Rights Month 2012!

Advocates across the country began Residents' Rights Month spreading the word about rights of all residents and this year's theme, "My Voice, My Vote, My Right." In Kentucky, Executive Director of the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass Sherry Culp responded to questions about Residents' Rights Month and residents' voting rights:

"Residents’ Rights Month 2012 reminds us that residents of long-term care facilities have the right to participate in the American political process. Residents do not lose their right to vote because of where they live. Residents can participate in national, state and local elections. Some residents actually go to the polls while others use absentee ballots."

Read the full interview on KY Forward.

Other ombudsman programs and organizations have promoted residents' rights this month. Read about activities going on in your city and state on the Consumer Voice website.

Let us know about Residents' Rights Month news and events going on in your area! Email information to csteier@theconsumervoice.org.

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Residents Express What Voting Means to Them in Resident's Voice Challenge

As a part of Residents’ Rights Month, the Consumer Voice held the annual Resident’s Voice Challenge where residents from across the country submitted stories, artwork, poems, videos and photos representing this year’s theme. We received many thoughtful responses which can be viewed on our website.

Ms. Velma Budd, a resident of the Harbor House Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing Center in Hingham, MA, shared her thoughts on voting:

“I feel fortunate to live in a country where we have the right to support the party we want to win and to rule, and I plan once again to vote by absentee ballot this year...I strongly believe that every person should be registered to vote for the person they believe would do the most for them as an individual and for our country."

Read Ms. Budd’s full story as well as many other submissions to Resident’s Voice on our website.

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Residents' Rights Month Resources and Products Available

The Residents' Rights Month Packet is available online. The packet includes historical information on residents' rights, training material for this year's theme and promotional materials for your use.

There's still time to purchase Residents' Rights Month products. Products with this year's theme include: posters, mouse pads (see below) and mugs.

Purchase the mouse pad on the Consumer Voice website.

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Advocate's Letter to the Editor on Antipsychotics Published in New York Times

Consumer Advocate Richard Mollot recently had a letter to the editor published in the New York Times. The letter was written in response to the article “A Call for Caution on Antipsychotic Drugs.” In his letter to the editor, Mr. Mollot emphasizes that the misuse of antipsychotics in nursing homes is a widespread yet preventable problem. Often, these drugs are used as a form of chemical restraint, as a substitute for quality care and sufficient staffing. Mr. Mollot expressed hope that with increased public knowledge and vigorous enforcement of federal standards, inappropriate use of antipsychotics in nursing homes can be eradicated.

Tell Us What You Need

As we create new materials, develop webinars and add resources to our website regarding Ombudsman volunteer management, we need to know what is important to you. We’ve created a brief 11-question survey seeking your input as we move to expand upon our Volunteer Management Network resources and evaluate the success of our current activities and materials.

To complete the questionnaire, please click here. We would appreciate a response by Monday, October 15, 2012.

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About The Gazette

The Gazette is a weekly e-newsletter, published by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care and the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. If you do not wish to continue receiving this publication, please unsubscribe. Your contributions and comments are welcome and should be sent to swells@theconsumervoice.org. Copyright © 2011.

The Consumer Voice is the leading national voice representing consumers in issues related to long-term care, helping to ensure that consumers are empowered to advocate for themselves. We are a primary source of information and tools for consumers, families, caregivers, advocates and ombudsmen to help ensure quality care for the individual. The Consumer Voice's mission is to represent consumers at the national level for quality long-term care, services and supports.

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National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care - 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 425 - Washington, DC 20036 - telephone: (202) 332-2275 - fax: (202) 332-2949 - info@theconsumervoice.org