Ombudsman Celebrate Residents’ Rights

The Centralina ombudsman advocate for residents who call adult care facilities and nursing homes their homes. As part of the Centralina Area Agency on Aging staff, they work to resolve issues of concern and advocate to protect the rights (called residents’ rights) of those living in long-term care facilities. Ombudsman also provide technical assistance to residents, the public and facilities.

What Are Residents’ Rights?

Residents’ rights are part of the 1987 federal Nursing Home Reform Law. The law requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident” and places a strong emphasis on individual dignity and self-determination. Read about these rights in more detail.

Celebrating Residents’ Rights During COVID

Each year the ombudsman program hosts residents’ rights celebrations where residents from multiple facilities gather to celebrate. In March of 2020 when visitation to long-term care facilities ceased due to Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 131, the ombudsman had to get creative and develop a new way to celebrate. Even though visitation has slowly resumed in our region’s facilities, large gatherings have not been allowed. With this in mind, our staff utilized CARES funding to provide gift cards to almost all facilities. These funds gave each location the ability to host individual celebrations for their residents. Gaston County even matched the gift card amount in 2021, allowing each Gaston facility to receive $200 dollars toward their celebrations. Amber Flowe, Activity Director for Covenant Village, said that she “was so thankful for the gift cards and appreciated the county matching so they could provide a great event for their residents.” See photos from their event at the bottom of the page. 

Helping Residents Stay Connected During COVID

Ombudsman were also able to use CARES funding to enhance the lives of residents in other ways. Our staff purchased iPads for all the family care home facilities throughout our region. When the ombudsman delivered these iPads, they informed administrators and facility staff about this initiative so that they would make the devices available to their residents. This gave residents the ability to stay in contact with and virtually see their families, loved ones and friends during times when facilities were not allowing visitors. One resident from Mary’s Family Care Home stated, “Thank you so much, this means the world to me to be able to see my children. It has been so lonely not being able to see them over the past year.”

We’re Here to Help           

Over the past two years when many residents were experiencing increased isolation and other stressors, the ombudsman program was able to provide a few items that helped improve residents’ quality of life. Please reach out to our ombudsman at 800-508-5777 if you have any concerns about a resident living in a long-term care facility.