Relatives of a nursing home patient can form a family council
Nursing homes should provide daily activities for residents to stay active.
The Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987 supports the rights of a resident and their family to hold private meetings about nursing home care. Families may hold a family council to discuss concerns on a weekly or monthly basis, or they may meet just for special concerns.
Not only must the facility allow such a meeting, but they must also provide a meeting place and a staff person, if desired. The family council also can meet without a staff member, if they so desire. The council can meet at the facility or any other location.
A family council is run by family members with the resident's needs in mind. There are usually five or more members on a council, and members appoint officers. Officers take minutes and keep track of finances, if applicable. A staff member may be asked to attend meetings, but the council has the right to meet without a staff member.
Ask the staff if they have a family council or other planned meeting for family members. If they do not have a council, ask where it can take place and what the best way is to inform family members. If there is a community bulletin board, ask if you can place a notice there. Some facilities also have a newsletter sent home to family members.
A family council offers many benefits for family members. They get to know each other and can offer emotional support during difficult times. Families also can educate one another about the rules and regulations of nursing home care.
The meeting also provides a friendly atmosphere for family members to get to know the staff and learn about their role in care. Family members can ask questions about care and discuss concerns during the meeting. Better communication often leads to better understanding and improved care. The council can suggest improvements and nursing home tips to the facility in regards to remodeling or activities. Families can stay involved in the decision-making process that shapes their loved one's experience at a facility.
If a family council is unsatisfied with responses made by the nursing home staff, it can file a complaint with the state medical licensing board. For example, if the complaint involved a San Antonio nursing home a complaint would be filed with the Texas Medical Board.