HUGHESVILLE - A Pennsylvania's Empowered Expert Residents class recently was hosted by Wolf Run Village. Five residents of Wolf Run Village and four from Muncy Valley Skilled Nursing Unit completed five weeks of two-hour sessions on April 25 to become "graduates" of the PEER program. The classes were taught by Michelle Koons, long-term care ombudsman from STEP Office of Aging, and Rick Wehler, volunteer with the ombudsman program. Presentations include information on resident rights; various roles of nursing facility staff; tools like resident council, care plan meetings and the "ladder of resolution" that can be used in solving problems; respecting confidentiality and the differences in people; and how to report abuse. Residents received a badge and a door sign, which identify them as PEERs who stand ready to help their fellow residents or facility staff. The PEER program is unique to Pennsylvania. STEP Office of Aging ombudsmen began presenting the program in 2006 and have 96 PEER graduates spread throughout the 21 long-term care facilities in Lycoming County. The PEER project will be expanded into Clinton County during the coming year.