Resident and Family Councils in Nursing Homes

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Is your loved one’s nursing home refusing to allow for or provide meeting space for family or resident councils? When a large group of people decides that they all have the same problem with the nursing home and want to talk about it so that they can discuss a course of action, this can be frightening to a nursing home. The nursing home may attempt to shut these councils down so that they don’t grow to an even larger number, forcing the nursing home to adjust policies or actions that they follow. Even though the nursing home may not like or agree with the family or resident councils, they have to listen and take into account their opinions.

Under the Nursing Home Reform Law, residents and residents’ family members have the right to form resident councils and family councils. If such a group forms, a nursing home must provide them with a private meeting space and must designate an employee to attend the meetings and act as the go-between. The points that the resident or family council make to the employee liaison must be seriously considered and responded to by the nursing home. There are some policies that are decided by nursing homes that are not followed through well and also policies that go against the opinions of the residents and their families. It can be helpful to speak about these concerns with other residents and family members that can understand.

At first, it may not be easy to form these councils. It can be intimidating and you may feel all alone in your concerns about your nursing home or your loved one. But remember, there is strength in numbers. The more people that feel the same way, the more pressure is put on the nursing home to change. Resident and family councils can be very powerful and can allow for much needed positive change in a nursing home. Resident and family councils allow for a forum to raise any issues that may be a cause for concern in front of a group. Though there will be a nursing home staff liaison present, this should not become a way for them to explain themselves and change minds. They can be guests at the council meeting, but they should not hold a powerful place in the meeting.

If you have concerns about your loved one and their nursing home will not allow for a resident or family council, this can be a frustrating time for you and you may feel all alone. If this is causing you to worry about the care you or your loved one, please call the Dan Pruitt Law Firm.


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