Maria Joseph CCC PEER group - 7-11-19

Back row left to right: Kimberly Shetler, ombudsman specialist; Kandy Schreffler, ombudsman; Becky Heimbach, assistant administrator. Front Row Left to Right: Sister Joan Lundy, PEER; Anita Heizer, PEER; Mary Ann Chaklos, executive director; Sister John Vianney, retired PEER; Jennifer Leiner, activity director; Michael Gill, PEER; Janet Bennett, PEER.

Danville – Four residents from Emmanuel Center, the skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation setting at Maria Joseph Continuing Care Community recently graduated from the Pennsylvania Empowered Expert Residents (PEER) program.  Columbia/Montour County Area Agency on Aging provided the training for the residents who are now recognized by the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Office as certified resident advocates.

The PEER program began in 2002 as a way for the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Office to expand its volunteer efforts to the resident population. 

 “We encourage residents as well as health care agencies to participate in this program,” comments Kandy Schreffler from the Area Agency on Aging, “PEER representatives play an important part in helping residents receive the services that are integral to living a full and independent life.”

Residents who complete the program learn about their rights and how to advocate on behalf of themselves and their fellow peers. Residents are taught how to work with a variety of care givers to effectively communicate resident needs and enhance the overall quality of care.  Empowerment is a strong theme that runs throughout the training materials.

 “We are very proud to have residents taking an active role in preserving their independence,” says Mary Ann Chaklos, executive director. “Open communication and empowered residents are key to maintaining a high level of quality care.”