Department of Family Services – Older Adults

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

TTY 711

12011 Government Center Parkway, Suite 708
Fairfax, VA 22035

Trina Mayhan-Webb,

Ombudsman: What is a Compassionate Care Visit?

Article by Camden Doran, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Volunteer Specialist, Area Agency on Aging

(Posted 2021 January)

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Residents in long-term care facilities have the right to receive visitors, such as family, friends, or organizations and individuals providing health, social, legal, or other services. However, there may be circumstances when visitation is restricted for various reasons. During these times, a resident may still be able to receive a visitor for compassionate care purposes. Compassionate care not only includes end-of-life situations, but also can pertain to:

  • sitting area with two chairs, lamps, sofas and one coffee tableA resident, who was living with their family before recently being admitted to a nursing home, is struggling with the change in environment and lack of physical family support.
  • A resident who is grieving after a friend or family member has recently passed away.
  • A resident who needs cueing and encouragement with eating or drinking, previously provided by family and/or caregiver(s), and is experiencing weight loss or dehydration.
  • A resident who used to talk and interact with others is experiencing emotional distress, seldom speaking, or crying more frequently. (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, 2020).

As a mandated program under the Older Americans Act, the Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is often called to assist residents and consumers to advocate for their rights to ensure quality of care and quality of life.

For more information about compassionate care visitation or other nursing facility and assisted living concerns, please call 703-324-5861 or contact the Ombudsman Program by email at

This article is part of the Golden Gazette monthly newsletter which covers a variety of topics and community news concerning older adults and caregivers in Fairfax County. Are you new to the Golden Gazette? Don’t miss out on future newsletters! Subscribe to get the electronic or free printed version mailed to you. Have a suggestion for a topic? Share it in an email or call 703-324-GOLD (4653).

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