YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – During the last week of February, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine put together a task force for nursing homes and care facilities. Its goal is to hear from residents, family members and caretakers across the state about issues they’re facing. The first session took place on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s discussion at Youngstown State University marked the first of many across the state for the Ohio Governor’s Nursing Home Quality and Accountability Task Force.

Care facility residents, family members, caretakers and patient advocates joined in on the discussion as state leaders heard stories from families on their journeys selecting a facility with quality of care.

“My mother-in-law has fallen, she had COVID that I was unaware of, she has been physically abused by another resident,” said one attendee.

“We heard some very powerful stories and we will translate those stories into meaningful information and how we can best move forward,” said Ursel McElroy, director of the Department of Aging and chairman of the Nursing Home Task Force.

They plan to address common issues heard by Gov. DeWine’s office, such as staffing, saying this feedback is invaluable to understanding what changes are necessary.

“People come from diverse backgrounds, they have diverse needs. So we really appreciate what that experience has been and those things that we can do to perhaps strengthen our nursing home system,” McElroy said.

Jacqueline DeGenova, the state’s long-term care ombudsman, attended, addressing what she hears daily as a resident advocate.

“Residents simply want quality of care. This is their home, as we spoke about, and they want to be comfortable and treated with dignity and respect,” she said.

The task force plans to meet with other communities across the state and present a recommendation to the governor’s office by May 26.