Resident Councils: Democracy At Its Best

The lives of long-term care community residents are heavily controlled by laws, rules, and policies set by the government and the nursing facility. Residents often have to undergo significant lifestyle changes due to health problems and the close quarters within which residents live. These changes and the rules of care facilities can make nursing facility residents feel like their opinions and preferences do not matter. Many residents struggle with adapting to life in a care community despite the best efforts of the staff and leadership of the community.

Earlier this month we coordinated an effort to have Governor Gary Herbert declare October as National Long-Term Residents Rights Month. We are focused in particular on the right of residents to form resident councils in their communities because we believe in the power of democracy to create consensus, build community, and solve problems.

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Governor Herbert Declares October as National Long-Term Residents Rights Month

Governor Gary Herbert has "National Long-Term Residents Rights Month" in Utah. We are pleased to join the countless residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities along with their family members, citizen advocates, facility staff, and others who are honoring the rights of long-term care residents this month. This special annual event is held each October by our friends at the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) to celebrate and focus on awareness of dignity, respect and the value of long-term care residents. 

We are honored to have requested the proclamation from Governor Herbert. It is an opportunity to focus on and celebrate awareness of dignity, respect and the rights of each resident. The federal Nursing Home Reform Law guarantees residents’ rights and places a strong emphasis on individual dignity, choice, and self-determination. The law also requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident”. 

This month we will celebrate the cherished rights of residents to form resident councils and utilize neighborhood democracy to promote better care for themselves. Resident councils can play a crucial role in voicing concerns, requesting improvements, and supporting new residents. 

Care facilities are more than building and we're working to make sure that facilities are viewed as communities rather than just buildings. Residents of care facilities know that these special places are a complete neighborhood in one building with unique residents, needs, and issues. We believe that neighborhood democracy should apply to all neighborhoods - regardless of their uniqueness - including care facilities. 

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Utah Center for Civic Improvement Affiliates With National Digital Inclusion Alliance

We are very pleased to announce our official affiliation with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance. We're excited to partner with them to advocate for home high-speed internet access, personal devices, and local technology adoption. We know that access to our increasingly digital world is the bedrock of prosperity for communities throughout Utah.

Digital_Inclusion.pngDigital Inclusion means empowering people through information and communication technologies. Our work includes sharing information and raising awareness related to public policy and community practices that promote digital inclusion. It is imperative that every community - rural and urban - have access to broadband internet, high-quality digital infrastructure, and the digital technologies that will define the next century. 

We recognize that in our modern world digital skills and accessibility are critical social determinants of health because they affect the ability of residents to meaningfully interact with economic and social opportunities in our community. Our work with neighborhood democracy initiatives focuses on preparing them to engage in evidence-informed practices that support digital inclusion efforts. 

Our new partnership will allow us to further meet the needs of our community and promote digital inclusion across the state. We look forward to the work ahead.