ProSpeak

Families Can Help Improve Nursing Home Care
Jul 8, 2022
Aisha R. Arrington, Executive Director
ProSpeak

Family members in a nursing home can create a family council within the facility. Family councils can play a crucial role in voicing concerns, requesting improvements, and supporting facility efforts to make care and life in the facility the best it can be. If you have a loved one living in a nursing home and a family council does not exist, below are three tips to get you started. 

Put It On the Calendar
Choose a date and time to meet, and pick a location within the facility. A library, activity room or dining hall could all be good options as long as there is privacy and a door. Ask the facility to post the time and date, and have flyers available to pass out to other family members. 

Vote for Positions
Vote for a president, vice president and a secretary. It is important to have leadership that understands that the goal is to improve care while keeping open communication with facility staff. Family members that already have good working relations with the nursing home would be ideal candidates. Have a written record of all meetings.

Understand the Purpose
A family council can be a safe place for family members to share frustrations and concerns in a constructive manner. This offers a great alternative to filing formal complaints with the Department of Health or with the LTC Ombudsman Program. Families can work together to discuss ways to address issues and focus on collective goals. It also allows families and facilities to focus on common, facility-wide concerns and make improvements that impact all residents. 

Family Councils help families explore creative ways to address concerns. A few success stories include towelettes made available to staff to wipe resident’s hands after meals, date and time put on resident’s disposable briefs when changed, & a 24-hour café made available to residents. All initiatives began with a concern addressed at a family council meeting. For more information, please visit The Consumer Voice Website: theconsumervoice.org. 

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program of N.E. Indiana

Phone: (260) 469-3161 ext. 1

Email: ararrington@doingthegood-ombudsman.org

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