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

04/29/2021

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

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

  • Tuesday, May 4, will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the VFC. Margaret Barajas, State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, and Dan Jurman, executive director of the Office of Advocacy and Reform, will look back on the past year, talk about what the COVID-19 pandemic revealed, and what steps are being taken to better the lives of long-term care residents in the future.
  • Tuesday, May 18, a check-in with the Pennsylvania Empowered Expert Residents (PEERs) Perspective. A panel of residents will discuss their experience of living in
    long-term care facilities 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.

"Since the inception of the Virtual Family Council, the ombudsman staff and volunteers have listened to concerns of families with loved ones in long-term care facilities and provided valuable, timely information. The discussion topics have become a useful resource for those in attendance to either use immediately or sometime in the future," said Barajas. "I am extremely grateful for the dedication of everyone involved with the council. As we have been offering this program for a year now, I hope it will continue to benefit families and their loved ones even after the pandemic ends."

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

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.  

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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