• Karen McPhail

Inclusive and Resident Focused Care - Know Your Rights!

Today I am going step up onto my soap box for a bit as this week has prompted this response!  Many of you know I write about what I see, experience, or have been asked about over the course of my week. This week has already been very busy in terms of advocacy across many areas!  


Everyone who works in long term care is very familiar with Residents Rights, but in my travels and work I find that these rights are not consistently being respected by many care communities. Communities speak of resident focused care and programs when marketing, but in practice many programs are structured on the terms of the care community and not based on the expressed resident preferences and needs. Not ALL residents are being valued and supported! This is especially seen when it comes to dining, activities, and the choice of service providers!


Among other issues, over the past week I have seen exclusion that is tolerated, ignored or overlooked, resident loneliness where staff are too busy to notice or care to intervene and correct, and sleepy individuals who would have loved to be able to rest more, but have to be at breakfast promptly and during the set time period as mandated.  

People should be able to live authentically and on their terms in care communities. Many LGBT residents are in hiding as they do not feel that the care community is inclusive or understands their needs. People come to a care community for "care", not to be judged or mandated to jump through hoops!  They are there for a reason, because they require assistance and have often times have experienced loss and have lost control over so many aspects of their life as a result.  They need to have some control over their lives and daily functioning. All care communities should be mandated to follow inclusive care guidelines so that ALL residents can be respected and be able to live on their terms without fear, pressure, or stress!

Aging Rainbows is always reaching out to care communities to provide free education on supporting inclusive care for LGBT older adults! We are trying to be a change agent for LGBT older adults and ensure that people in the healthcare community are aware of the needs of the LGBT older adult community and that they have an obligation to respond and make positive changes!

When searching for a care community know your rights, their responsibilities, and ask questions about how services are inclusive, resident focused and customized based on care preferences, routines, and expressed needs. Ask for examples of how this is shown or put into practice through daily activities, staffing, special events, welcoming of new residents, programs, community celebrations, etc? Are their forms and basic practices inclusive in nature? Does the intake or marketing individual ask open ended questions and seem to want to know more about you and those who are important to you?  How are residents welcomed into the community and supported in forming relationships?  How is hate speech deterred and handled? Does the care community have a contract with an outside vendor for services; are residents given choices one are providers and vendors?  Are inclusive care providers listed as an option? How is the resident provided with choices in terms of care providers?  Take your time when selecting a care community and never feel pressured!  Look for our upcoming blogs on selecting a care community for a more comprehensive list of questions to consider asking along the way.  Exploring these areas is very important as they directly impact quality and overall long term happiness for the resident!  ALL resident rights should be respected in care communities and ALL individuals should able to live and age authentically on their terms!   

Know your rights!  See the link below the VA Residents Rights!

The Virginia Resident Rights for Assisted Living:

If you or your loved one is in a care community where they are not supporting and valuing input, reach out to us today as we will advocate and ensure that things are put back on track and that all involved are understanding and providing a supportive, individualized, inclusive, and service focused care environment!

Again, care should be on the terms of the individual, we can ensure that your rights are respected and those caring for you understand their responsibilities in providing care.  

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