ElderLaw News-The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. — MD, VA, DC
ElderLaw News
ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

Spotlight on: Virginia’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

A common concern among elderly individuals facing long-term care is the quality of care and personal treatment they will receive.

While many caregivers do an excellent job of providing the necessary medical care and attention to these individuals, there are also caregivers who provide less than satisfactory care or treat individuals poorly, and it can be hard to predict which facilities or caregivers this will be. Individuals receiving long-term care services may not be able to advocate for themselves when placed in an unsatisfactory situation or suffering from neglect; therefore, it is important that such individuals have advocates who may intervene on their behalf when necessary.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program which advocates for elderly individuals receiving long-term care services in nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, or in their home. Managed and operated by the Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging (V4A), a private non-profit organization, the program is funded through federal, state, local and charitable contributions and is available to individuals free of charge.

Your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman can provide counseling and information by phone or in person to help you resolve issues with long-term care providers. If you wish, they may also become directly involved to help resolve the issue by meeting with the individual receiving long-term care services, their family members, and caregivers. If the recipient of care and his or her family agrees, the Ombudsman may also involve other agencies, such as Adult Protective Services through the Department of Social Services, as needed.

Some of the most common complaints the Ombudsman Program receives are as follows:

• Failure to respond to requests for assistance
• Inadequate assistance with the administration of medications
• Accidental or unexplained injury, falls, improper handling
• Unattended symptoms, unmanaged pain, failure to recognize changes in condition
• Improper discharge or eviction from a facility
• Inadequate assistance with personal hygiene, dressing, or grooming
• Lack of dignity or respect shown by staff
• Facilities or equipment in disrepair
• Cleanliness of facilities
• Loss or theft of personal property

There are twenty local area agencies on aging throughout Virginia which provide Ombudsman services. If you have a concern about the long-term care services you or a loved one are receiving, and you have been unable to resolve the issue yourself, consider contacting your local Ombudsman for assistance.

Information adapted from www.elderrightsva.org. A list of local ombudsman programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia may be found at http://www.vaaaa.org/LTCOP/localombud.asp.


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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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This newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this newsletter accurate, we assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or damages resulting from the use of the information in this newsletter. The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. thanks the law firm of Hook Law Center for their input to this newsletter.

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