What is a Family Council?
A Family Council is an organized, self-led, self-determining, democratic group composed of family and friends of the residents of a Long-Term Care Home. The main purposes of a Family Council are to improve the quality of life of Long-Term Care residents and to give families and friends a forum for sharing their experiences, learning and exchanging information.
A Family Council works with residents’ family members or friends and the Long-Term Care Home to identify and resolve issues that affect residents’ quality of life, plan activities for residents, families and staff, and support each other. Most Family Councils work with a Family Council Staff Assistant. This is a person that the Home appoints at the request of the Family Council to assist the Council and attend meetings on request.
While each Family Council is unique, Family Councils in general focus on improving the quality of life and assuring quality of care for all residents and supporting each other. This includes activities that:
- Promote mutual support among Council members and other families and friends involved with the Home’s residents often through sharing information and experiences as well as educating Council members on issues affecting residents and families – sometimes by engaging guest speakers
- Facilitate communication and promote partnerships with Home staff and residents as well as residents’ families and friends who are not involved directly on the Council
- Advocate regarding collective concerns. Advocacy can focus on issues within the Home or occasionally broader concerns
Family Councils are included in the Long-Term Care Homes Act, sections 59-68. The Act outlines the Long Term Care Home’s obligations to support the establishment of a Council, the powers of a Council, who may and may not be a member of the Council and more. Read the Long Term Care Act on the Government of Ontario website.
Connect with other Family Councils
Connecting with other Family Councils is a great way to share your successes and challenges, work on issues of common interest and support one another. Information about Family Councils in your area.
Family Council Networking
At Family Council Networking meetings Family Council members have an opportunity to share experiences, learn through educational opportunities and explore issues of common concern. Learn more about Family Council Networking meetings.