November 1, 2018 – Nine residents at The Gardens at Blue Ridge celebrated their graduation from the PEER (Pennsylvania’s Empowered Expert Residents) Program, which trains residents at long-term care facilities to serve as advocates that enhance the quality of care and life for their peers, by working with both facility staff and their fellow residents.
The PEER group participated in five 2-hour training sessions; providing them with the education and tools they need to support their fellow residents. Sessions include information on resident rights, various roles of facility staff, tools-such as the “ladder of resolution” – that can be used in solving problems, respecting confidentiality and how to report abuse.
Joined by family and friends, graduates were presented with an official diploma. In attendance, was Cori Brindle, Long Term Care Ombudsman for Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging. Ms. Brindle congratulated the graduates and thanked the facility’s staff for embracing the P.E.E.R program. The Gardens at Blue Ridge is currently one of only six PEER-participating facilities in Dauphin County.
Catherine Kirkham, Administrator at The Gardens at Blue Ridge, stated “We couldn’t be prouder of this latest group of residents upon the completion of their PEER training. Their commitment to helping each other is truly inspirational, and our staff will be there to support their efforts in every way they can. We believe a strong PEER program enhances our facility and the quality of life for each of our residents.”
The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Office implemented the PEER program in 2002. Residents residing in long-term care (LTC) facilities are taught how to advocate and maintain their rights for themselves and their fellow peers. Residents are educated on how to work with facility staff to enhance their quality of care and life for all residents. Self-resolution and empowerment are themes consistently emphasized in all statewide trainings.