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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2010

State Dept on Aging Salutes Those Who Make a Positive Difference in the Lives of Nursing Home Residents
Ombudsmen & Safety Task Force protect & raise standard of care for residents

SPRINGFIELD – In recognition of this week’s National Nursing Home Week observance, Illinois Department on Aging Director Charles D. Johnson thanks professional and family caregivers for helping residents in Illinois nursing homes.  National Nursing Home Week runs through May 15 and this year’s theme "Enriching Every Day" honors those who are helping others, thus adding value to life and overcoming many of the infirmities of age and disability.

“There is a great need for caregivers who advocate and support nursing home residents,” said Director Johnson.  “And with the growing number of older adults who need assistance, our programs and services must evolve to better enhance their quality of life.  The week provides an opportunity to honor all those who contribute to our nursing homes, including residents, family members, staff and volunteers.”

The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) helps older people live independently to remain in their own homes and communities.  But, the agency also has an arm to assist those seniors who may need added support and have moved into a nursing home.   The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program protects and promotes the rights as well as quality of life for people who reside in nursing homes.  Regional ombudsmen have a hands-on working relationship with the nursing home residents and staff of the facilities.

A nursing home should be a safe, supportive and caring environment for residents.  To ensure safety and raise the standard of care for nursing homes in Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn convened a Nursing Home Safety Task Force, to examine policies and practices that contributed to substandard care and harm to vulnerable nursing home residents.  Earlier this year, the Task Force developed a comprehensive set of recommendations to reform the long-term care system in Illinois.

National Nursing Home Week, May 9 - 15, spotlights nursing home residents and staff and encourages all to celebrate those who make a positive difference in their lives every day. 

For information on National Nursing Home Week, log on to the American Health Care Association website at:  www.ahcancal.org/events/national_nursing_home_week/Pages/default.aspx.

For more information about program services to assist older adults in Illinois and their caregivers, call the IDoA Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or for TTY (hearing impaired use only) call 1-888-206-1327.



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