You Asked Us: What role does the Family Council play in an inspection of the Long-Term Care Home?
According to the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, “every long-term care home shall be inspected at least once a year” (2007, c. 8, s. 143.). Further, “Where an inspection is required under section 143, the inspector may meet with the Residents’ Council or the Family Council, if requested or permitted to do so by the Council.” (2007, c. 8, s. 145.).
When a Ministry of Health Inspector visits the Long-Term Care Home (LTC Home) to conduct a comprehensive inspection, the Resident Quality Inspection (RQI), he/she will determine if there is a Family Council in the Home; if so, he/she will request to meet with the Family Council President/Chairperson or other contact.
During an RQI, the Family Council Interview Inspection Protocol is used. All Inspection Protocols are linked to the Act. The purpose of this Inspection Protocol (IP) is to determine compliance with the Long-Term Care Homes Act (the Act) as it pertains to the Family Council, including the establishment of a Family Council; respect and support for the rights and powers of the Family Council; the appointment of a Staff Assistant; duty to consult; duty not to interfere; duty to respond; and, all other relevant sections of the Act.
During the Family Council Interview the inspector interviews the Family Council President/Chairperson. If the President/Chair is not available, then an active Council member will be interviewed. It is Best Practice to decide in advance who will be interviewed and to forward his/her name and contact information to the Home’s Administrator. You can review the Family Council Interview Inspection Protocol and discuss the answers in advance to prepare. Use our Family Council Interview: A Preparation Guide to facilitate the discussion.
The inspector will ask permission to review previous meeting minutes of past three (3) months. This is to review the concerns raised and responses to these concerns.
An inspector may also use the Family Council Interview Inspection Protocol during another type of inspection. The Ministry conducts comprehensive, complaint, critical incident, follow up, and other types of inspections. Click here to view the Family Council Interview Inspection Protocol.
A copy of the public version of the inspection report detailing all findings of non-compliance must be publicly posted in the LTC Home and a copy of the must be provided to the Family Council as well as a summary of the report.
Beyond being involved in the Inspection itself, the Family Council plays an important role in ensuring high quality care in the Home. Through the powers outlined in the Act– which are given by the government, not the LTC Home– the Family Council has the power to review the operation of the Home and advise the licensee and/or Director of any concerns or recommendations. The Act stipulates that the Home has a duty to respond in writing within 10 days.
A Family Council provides an opportunity for family members to have a collective voice regarding decisions that can affect the care of their loved ones. If the Family Council has a concern regarding the operation of the Home (care, food etc…) then the Council can present the concern to the administrator in writing.
You can also contact the Ministry of Health’s ACTION Line. The Long-Term Care ACTION Line is open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and can be reached toll-free at: 1-866-434-0144. A complaint can also be sent by mail to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Performance Improvement and Compliance Director at the following address: Director, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Performance Improvement and Compliance Branch, 11th Floor, 1075 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2B1.
Family Councils play an important role in LTC. By being aware of the role of the Council in the Inspection process you can help ensure high quality care!
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