Between September 2002 and May 2005, staff at the Long Term Care Community Coalition in New York City, in partnership with the Coalition of Institutionalized Aged and Disabled, produced, field tested, revised and disseminated guidebooks to help residents of assisted living residences have greater control over their lives.
Project staff produced four educational booklets for assisted living residents, potential residents and staff that encourage greater autonomy, control, informed risk-taking and the ability to "age-in" safely (stay in the same place regardless of health status).
Information about the guidebooks reached nearly 16 million consumers and long-term care professionals nationwide through many dissemination activities.
Before finalizing the guidebooks for publication, project staff conducted a field test of the guidebooks' effect on resident autonomy and independence, and presented the findings in a September 2004 report, Assessing the Effectiveness of the Assisted Living Booklet. Conclusions included:
"The booklets initiated altered thinking among staff, which led to many independent residents with active lives; which led to residents influencing policies; which led to improved care and to a limited extent the ability to age-in."
Project Director Cynthia Rudder said: "I don't think we were successful in making that happen [helping to make policy]. There was much movement along the lines of speaking to residents about issues and meeting with them, but when it came to things like could residents have a say in hiring staff there was still a tremendous reluctance to make that happen."