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Resident and Family Support Council

Resident and Family Support Council

​The Resident and Family Support Council is a virtual forum to bring people together across the State.  The goal of this Council is to educate and connect people about issues relating to residents and families in the long-term care system. These meetings will occur the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at 3:00 with the topics determined through attendee input. There will be time for question and answer and resource sharing at each meeting. If you are interested in receiving invitations for future meetings, please email and you will be added to our email group.  

You can also view upcoming meetings on the Department calendar.


October 11, 2022

Topic:  Taking Your Loved One Out of The Facility:  From a day outing to vacation, what do I need to know?

Description:  Everyone needs to get out every now and then – even if you live in a long-term care facility.  During this meeting we will be discussing why it’s important, policies that you need to know to make it work, how to prepare and tips from a family who successfully took their loved one on a week vacation.  Julia Ferrell, the nurse at Clinton Manner who assisted with this successful vacation will share how she helped the family prepare and other “need to know” information.  

Previous Meetings

Sept 27, 2022

Topic: Resident Rights Month – Celebrating an Empowered Life in Long-Term Care

Description: During this meeting we will be talking about why Resident Rights exists and how to make sure that you are listened to in regards to what you need, want and deserve.  We will share some resources for an empowered living as well and highlight the Consumer Voice website that has some fantastic resources to share with your facility to make sure that Resident Rights are celebrated in your facility. 

September 13, 2022

Topic: What Should Meaningful Engagement Look Like in Your Long-Term Care Facility?

Description: Being meaningfully engaged means that there are things happening around you that you enjoy and want to be involved in. Meaningful engagement should be a standard for everyone who lives in long-term care facilities. No matter what your diagnosis is, opportunities should be available that give your life meaning and purpose. During this meeting we will have a panel discussion that will include why it is important to have meaning in our lives and how this can be achieved through purposeful engagement. 

August 23, 2022

Topic: The Importance of Knowing Your Medications and What They Are For 

Description: It's important to understand what medication you are taking so that you can be empowered to know what you are taking it for, when they should be given and the potential side effects, so that you can make educated choices.   Some of the questions that we will be answering include:

  • Why is the medication necessary?
  • Can a lifestyle modification occur, such a s a special diet, before adding a new medication?
  • Can any medication be stopped because the symptoms have improved?
  • Are there any medications that you are taking that may be inappropriate for older Adults as referenced on the Beers list, including antipsychotics?

Craig Sever, Everspring Pharmacy's Clinical Director will be leading this conversation for us.  

August 9, 2022

Topic: Being Self-empowered with your Dietary Choices

Description: Food is such a big part of our lives. With that being said, as we age dietary needs may change and sometimes this can decline the personal quality to our lives.  During this presentation we will have a Emily Eckhardt, Speech pathologist for EmpowerMe Wellness share with us why Special diets are prescribed, the need for re-evaluation to make sure your needs are being met, the right to choose your own diet, and how to make person centered choices regarding your diet while understanding the risk factors. 

July 26, 2022

Topic - Navigating Your Own Advocacy When You Live in A Long-Term Care Facility

Description: If you live in a long-term care facility, you can always call the Ombudsman to assist with advocating for you. But the Ombudsman can't be in all buildings, all the time so at this meeting we will discuss common situation that occur and what you can do about them. 

We will discuss the various roles of facility staff, to broaden awareness of who can handle things internally so that you can feel comfortable in advocating for yourself using examples.  Please feel free to bring issues that you are having so that we can assist in coaching you on how to approach, while always knowing that the Ombudsman is there to support you along the way. 

View Presentation Materials.

July 12, 2022

Topic: Nursing Home Rate Reform in IL – paying our CNAs for years of service 

Description:  This Spring (April of 2022), Il Legislators agreed to the rate reform proposal put forth by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and developed over a two year period with support and input from the long-term industry as a whole.  This landmark legislation is expected to provide most certified nurse's aids (CNAs) who work in IL Nursing Homes with wage increases based upon the number  of years they have worked as a CNA.  Andy Allison rom HFS will be presenting on this topic.

View Presentation Materials.

June 28, 2022

Topic: You Can Be Treated for COVID – Understanding the various treatments and when/how these are administered 

Description: People need to be empowered to understand that COVID can be treated, but it is imperative to understand the options so that you use these in a timely manner.  The Illinois Department of Public Health's Infection Prevention Team will share with us the various treatment options for COVID along with when and how to use these.  

View Presentation Materials.

June 14, 2022

Topic:  Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation in Long-Term Care Facilities: Adult Protective Services Role and Ombudsman Role

Description: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15, 2022.  We will be discussing the role of Adult Protective Services and the Ombudsman role and how we may work together to address abuse, neglect and exploitation in Long-Term Care facilities.

View Presentation Materials HERE AND HERE.

May 10, 2022

Topic: Resident & Family Support Council Year in Review- revisiting some of our most impactful conversations

Description: We have been holding these Council Meetings for over a year and there have been some really great conversation! We recognize that not everyone has been able to attend all meetings, so we thought we would revisit those that people had a lot of questions and feedback on. 

April 26, 2022

Topic: Sexual Expression in Long-Term Care Facilities

Description: Join us to have this thought out conversation regarding people's right to sexual expression even when they live in a long-term care facility.  

April 12, 2022

Topic: Update on Legislation Pertaining to Long-Term Care

Description: There has been a lot of attention on long-term care during this legislative session.  During this meeting the Department on Aging's  legislative Liaison, Katherine Ostrowski will update us on what has passed and how it will effect long-term care.  

View Presentation Materials HERE.

March 22, 2022

Topic:  Resident Rights – Your Rights as a citizen and a Facility Resident PART II

Description: To continue our conversation from the last meeting, we are going to discuss facility surveys and your ability to access these, your right to complain to the facility and your right to have advocates (including the Ombudsman) work with you as a resident of long-term care. 

View Presentation Materials HERE.

March 8, 2022

Topic: Resident Rights - Your rights as a citizen and a facility resident PART I

Description: As a long-term care facility resident, your rights include all the same rights as a citizen of the United States, including the right to vote, religion and the right to participate in social and community activities. We will explore these rights deeper and share what facilities need to do to make sure that your rights are being honored.

Topic: Resident Council Meeting - What are they for and what should they look like?

Description: Resident Council meetings create an opportunity for residents to have input into what is going on in the facility - the place they call home . These meetings provide a forum to contribute, find out what is happening in the facility and to provide feedback. During this meeting come to find out how they should be ran and to share how it works in your home.

View Presentation Materials HERE.

Topic: Family Councils: A Way to Feel More Involved in Your Loved One's Facility
Description: While it is not a requirement for there to be Family Councils in long-term care communities, Family Councils can be a great way to help families feel more apart of their loved ones lives and to gain a deeper understanding of the facility. We will be discussing best practices for getting these going, what they can look like and ideas to sustain the meetings.

View Presentation Materials HERE.

January 11, 2022

Topic:  Understanding Your Rights:  The Right to Privacy and Confidentiality. 

Description:  We will be looking closing at the right to privacy and confidentiality to really understand how this right looks once you enter a long-term care facility.  Do people REALLY knock on your door before entering?  Do you feel that your room is your private space? Do you know what is in your medical record?  All this will be addressed and more.  This will be a open dialogue with question and answers throughout the conversation.  

December 21, 2021

Topic:  The Gift of Resources to Empower

Description: There are so many resources to assist us in navigating this complicated world of long-term care.  During today's discussion we will share some valuable resources and hear from a senior grassroots advocacy group, the Jane Adams Senior Caucus, on some things that they are doing to promote greater empowerment for seniors in the Chicagoland area.  

View Presentation Materials HERE.

December 7, 2021

Topic: We Want to Hear From You!

Description: During this meeting we will discuss how everything went with visitation for Thanksgiving to help prepare us for the December holidays.  We will briefly review our last meeting and what you should expect to be seeing in regards to visitation based upon the Federal rules and share any updates from the State regarding their guidance for all long-term care facilities.  We will be opening the microphone for comment throughout the meeting.  

November 23, 2021

Topic: Home For the Holidays- enjoying each other's company no matter where you live.

Description: We will be sharing ideas to engage with those living in long-term care facilities during the holiday seasons.  Come and share some ideas that you may have as well! 

November 9, 2021

Topic: The How's and Why's of Guardianship

Description: Barry Lowy from Equip for Equality will discuss the dynamics of the guardianship program including the process and why it is needed. 

View Presentation Materials HERE.

October 26, 2021

Topic: Having your Person Centered Care Needs Met Through You Care Plan

Description:  As a follow-up to the previous meeting, the Ombudsman will share how to be empowered through your care plan to make sure that you person-centered needs are being addressed.  Find out what a care plan should look like, who should be a part of this and how to make sure that your voice is integrated into the process.  

View Presentation Materials HERE.

October 12, 2021

Topic: What is Person Centered Care?

Description Quality of life is the most important element when living in long-term care communities.  Come and listen to what one CEO, Administrator and family have experienced in regards to person-centered care at their facility.  Hear about what they have done to make life better for those that live in this home and the impact it has made on those who live there. 

Presented by:  Michael Brave (CEO), Cheryl Smith( Administrator) & Carrie Leljadel (family member)

September 28, 2021

Topic: IDPH Update:  It's Fall What should we be seeing? 

Description: We have been through a lot in the last year and 8 months.  The rules have adapted to the current COVID situation and it is hard to keep it all straight.  During this meeting, you will be given the opportunity to hear from the State, what you should be seeing so that you can best advocate for yourself and your loved ones.  As always, there will be time for questions so you can make sure you feel fully empowered.  

Presented by Infection Prevention Team, IL Department of Public Health  

View Presentation Materials HERE.

September 14, 2021

Topic: Understanding Guardianship in IL

Description: Guardianship can be a very confusing process.  Understanding what it is and how to navigate will be the focus of this conversation. 

Presented by Teresa Parks, Deputy Director and Human Rights Authority Director, Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission

View Presentation Materials HERE.

August 31, 2021

Topic: Dementia Friendly Illinois

Description: Susan Frick, of the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center and the Cognitive Resource Alliance, will discuss reversing the narrative. Communities, big and small, can see the value in making their communities more dementia friendly. Dementia Friendly Illinois is about improving the journey of persons with dementia and their support systems. We will discuss what is going on across the state and what you can do in your area to support this initiative.  

View Presentation Materials HERE.

August 17, 2021

Topic: Hospice and Palliative Care – What's the difference?

Description:  Hospice and Palliative care are two person centered approaches to care for people as they navigate with disease process.  We will discuss what each of these are and when care and services for these are beneficial to the person.  

August 3, 2021

Topic: Understanding Dementia

Description:   there are many different types of dementia and it is important to recognize the differences so that people are diagnosed properly.  We will give a brief overview of some of the most common types of dementia to help gain a greater understanding of these diseases and why it's important to get a proper diagnosis. 

View Presentation Materials HERE.

July 20, 2021

Topic: Care Plans – What are they and what do I need to know 

Description:  Care Plans or Service Plans are integral to the care and services that you receive when you live in a long-term care facility.  These basically are the directions for your care and where you have the opportunity to personal what you need, want and deserve.  We will discuss the process and your role in assuring that your care plan meets what you need. 

View Presentation Materials HERE.

June 22, 2021

Topic:  It's June… what should we be seeing

Description:  We are all excited that we are now at Phase 5 in IL and things are opening up! But unfortunately, it still looks different for long-term care facilities.  We have invited IL Department of Public Health to come back and talk with us so that we can hear from them what we should be seeing in long-term care facilities throughout the state.   We will also have the opportunity to ask questions and gain a better understand of what we can and can't do in regards to visitation and going out of the buildings. 

View Presentation Materials HERE.

June 8, 2021

Understanding Your Long-Term Care Discharge and Financial Rights

People who live in long-term care facilities have rights.  At the next meeting, two of those rights will be highlighted.  The fear of being discharged for no apparent reason can be very real for some.  We will be addressing how long-term care facilities can only discharge you for very specific reason.  These reasons will be discussed as well as a review of what are your financial rights. These two topics are very timely now that we are trying to recuperate after COVID.    

View Presentation MaterialsHERE.

Electronic Monitoring-Understanding Your Rights! Did you know that you can put a camera in your loved one's room?  That is a right that you and the resident have.  We will be discussing this, and a family member will share why and how she set it up for her loved one.  

View Presentation Materials HERE AND  HERE.

We Want to Hear from You! During this meeting everyone had the opportunity to voice concerns, ask questions and share stories.  We were led through this conversation with a family member and a resident who shared their stories of how the pandemic personally affected them.  We also shared a lot of links to assist with the conversation which are provided in the link below. 

Everyone deserves the ability to be able to advocate for themselves.  But sometimes we can be fearful that someone might not want to hear what we are saying and then take it out on us.  No one who lives in a long-term care facility should ever be fearful of speaking up.  Kelly Richards, the State Long Term Care Ombudsman, Stephen Maxwell, Regional Ombudsman in the Peoria Area and Carrie Leljedal, family member and advocate discussed how to feel comfortable in making sure that you get what you need, want and deserve!  

View Presentation MaterialsHERE

There are many different types of long-term care communities in IL and it can be very confusing.  Jessica Belsly, Ombudsman Specialist, shared what are the various types of long-term care facilities and where to go to advocate for yourself or those you care about.

View Presentation Materials HERE.

Dr. Catherine Counard and Debra Burdsall from Illinois Department of Public Health, joined the group to discuss the IDPH revised guidance for Nursing Homes which includes information on the guidance changes, which was released on March 19, 2021.  We had many questions and answers that really helped to understand what the IDPH is telling the facilities.

View Presentation Materials HERE

During this meeting we addressed Family's and Resident's concerns regarding visitation in Long Term Care Facilities.  Kelly Richards, the State Ombudsman, provided us with a summary of the regulations regarding visitation during this pandemic and then Jessica Belsly, the State Ombudsman consultant along with Kelly provided answers to specific questions from the group.  

View Presentations MaterialsHERE