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Idaho Ombudsman Pairs Pen Pals in Facilities Across Her Region

November 02, 2020

COVID-19 led to a decrease in visitation for long-term care residents across the country, and the isolation that resulted from these visitation restrictions negatively impacted residents. Since in-person visitation wasn't possible, some facilities in Idaho began pen pal programs. Inspired by the pen pal program featured on one facility's Facebook page, Tera Fellows, an Ombudsman program representative in eastern Idaho, also began pairing up pen pals in facilities across her region. Of the 36 total long-term care facilities across the nine eastern Idaho counties that Fellows works in, four are involved in the pen pal program. She said she’s paired up 16 total sets of pen pals — each with one resident in a facility here, and one non-resident. “It’s still in the early stages,” Fellows said. “I can’t wait one day to be visiting the patients and ask them face to face if they’re still getting letters.”

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