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National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care Public Policy Agenda

The fight to improve the lives of seniors occurs on many fronts. Part of it involves holding facilities and caregivers accountable in the civil law following neglect and mistreatment. Another is the larger public policy fights to push for fair rules and regulations that most benefit seniors generally and nursing home residents specifically. The Consumer Voice is one of the leading organizations advancing the policy goals of the community. Our Illinois nursing home neglect attorney Steven Levin currently serves on the Leadership Council of the Consumer Voice.

Consumer Voice Public Policy Vision
Recently, the organization released a list of goals to flesh out its public policy agenda for the next one to two years. The list is a helpful checklist to follow in the coming months as debate about these issues advances at various levels, including state and local governments. The four most recent goals include:

#1 – Advocate for policies that support quality care and maximization of senior quality of life. This is a far-reaching goal. For example, it include advocating against use of restraints (physical and chemical). This is particularly important when it comes to residents with dementia, as research shows that there is an increased risk of death if certain antipsychotic medications are given. This goal also involves advocacy against dangerous bed rails and inefficient staffing. In addition, the Consumer Voice seeks to protect the constitutional legal rights of residents, including advocating against mandatory arbitration agreements. The attorneys at our firm know that many families in Chicago have been affected by those agreements.

#2 – Develop and support programs and rules which provide services to long-term care consumers. Beyond advocating for practical changes within nursing homes, the Consumer Voice will also work to advance laws and regulations that have a real impact on seniors–including the preservation of the Nursing Home Reform Law of OBRA ’87.

#3 – Fight for strong and independent long-term care ombudsman program. As part of its federal advocacy effort, the Consumer Voice seeks to ensure the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center is kept alive and properly funded. The group also seeks to expand the important program into all nursing homes and community-based services centers.

#4- Advocate for creation and enforcement of long-term care consumer rights. The Consumer Voice plans to advocate for creation for a home care bill of rights. Time and again history shows that when proper rights are outlined in clear and easily understandable documents, there is a far greater chance that those rights will be respected.

The Consumer Voice is a superb organization working to ensure all of our senior loved ones who rely on long-term care are treated with fairness and compassion. All those who care about quality senior care should be sure to follow along with all of the policy goals in the coming months and years. In addition, it is important to be educated about how various political candidates view these issues, as their answers may influence how you decide to cast your ballot in the upcoming elections.

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