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Department of Aging: Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Announces April Dates for Virtual Family Council Meetings

03/31/2021

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging's Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman today announced the dates and topics for the upcoming Virtual Family Council (VFC) meetings in April.

In response to restrictions on visits in long-term care facilities because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the VFC began in May 2020 as an online forum for families that could not have in-person visits with their loved ones living in these facilities. Led by ombudsmen and family members, the biweekly meetings bring families and advocates together for sharing, support and learning. The VFC has received national attention and has become a model for other states looking to develop similar programs.  

"The Virtual Family Council has been a wonderful asset for dispensing timely information and one of the first times we have been able to bring together many family members of long-term care facilities residents," said Jaime Rose, ombudsman specialist.

The VFC meetings will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and will discuss selected topics on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, April 6, a three-part series on building an advocacy toolkit will conclude with a presentation from a representative with the Pennsylvania Health Law Project (PHLP), a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to older adults who have trouble getting or keeping their healthcare coverage.
  • Tuesday, April 20, as part of National Volunteers Week, the meeting will explore how to become an ombudsman volunteer. Members of the Ombudsman Volunteer Task Force will participate in a panel discussion and answer questions.

In addition to the discussions on the featured topics, the VFC offers families a chance to virtually connect with a local ombudsman and other experts to ask questions and discuss protocols, rights, and procedures for their loved ones in long-term care facilities. The meetings do not address specific issues regarding a resident or a facility. 

To get VFC connection information, email jarotz@pa.gov and in the subject line, indicate Virtual Family Council.  

Learn more about the Ombudsman's Office and the various programs offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jack Eilber, agingcomms@pa.gov

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