Resident Advocate Committees
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Resident Advocate Committee forms | The Advocate Newsletter
Every licensed facility in Iowa is required by Code to have a Resident Advocate Committee (RAC). Currently there are over 800 committees and 2,100 volunteers across the state serving in nursing and residential care facilities. Administration of the program rests with the Iowa Department on Aging, with specific duties assigned to the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
What Resident Advocate Committees Do
The Resident Advocate Committee functions as an autonomous group within the facility and represents every resident. It is a particularly important role, especially for residents who have no family or friends nearby and those who might be reluctant to bring concerns directly to staff. Volunteers spend at least 2-3 hours per month at the facility talking with the residents to better understand the conditions of the facility from the residents' point of view. The Resident Advocate Committee convenes on a regular basis to share information gained during the visits. Issues are then communicated with the facility staff to correct problems or implement suggestions for improvement. Concerns may be sent to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman or the Department of Inspections and Appeals if they are not resolved.
- Visit residents for 3 hours per month
- Assist residents and their families to understand and exercise their rights
- Maintain a presence in the facility by visiting on a regular, unannounced basis
- Attend committee meetings quarterly
- Assist in working to find solutions and resolutions to residents and/or family concerns
- Respect and promote the residents' right to self-determination
- Refer any unresolved complaints to the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman or Department of Inspections and Appeals
Qualifying to be a Resident Advocate
To become a Resident Advocate you must be a caring, objective and conscientious adult willing to take the time to learn advocacy skills and residents' rights. You may be eligible to serve even if you have a relative who is a resident of the facility; however, you cannot be a Resident Advocate if you or a relative has a financial interest or is employed by the facility. Resident Advocates cannot be formal employees of the facility within the past three years, nor can they be employed by a competing facility.
To apply, fill out the RAC Volunteer Application.
If you have any questions about volunteering at a long-term care facility, contact Merea Bentrott toll free at 1-866-236-1430 or 515-344-0052.
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Attention Current RAC members!
We have the RAC forms online.
All of these are available in Adobe PDF format. Please feel free to print off all of the forms and use them for your committees.
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Also available is The Advocate Newsletter! The newsletter provides detailed information about the Long-Term Care Ombudsman's Office and provides an opportunity for you to learn information on new subjects related to elders in nursing homes.
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