Family members in a nursing home can join together to form a united consumer voice which can communicate concerns to facility administrators and work for resolutions and improvements by forming a family council. Family councils can play a crucial role in voicing concerns, requesting improvements, supporting new family members and residents, and supporting facility efforts to make care and life in the facility the best it can be.
Join and support the family council at your loved one's facility! If no family council exists, join with other family members to form one.
This family council center contains factsheets and other materials related to family council creation, maintenance, rights under federal law and advocacy. It also has information about family council grants, networking opportunities, other ways to get involved in long-term care advocacy and additional resources.
The Consumer Voice is working to connect councils across the country. We host a free family council listserv for family councils across the U.S. which allows family council members to network with one another, share successes, accomplishments, and challenges, converse and get feedback and learn about resources and opportunities available for family councils through Consumer Voice. This discussion group/listserv is confidential – it is only open to family council members and family members. It is not open to ombudsmen and facility staff.
Before subscribing to the Family Council Listserv, please be sure to read the Listserv Purpose and Ground Rules. To subscribe to the listserv, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, program and research associate.
Below are materials to assist you to start and maintain your family council:
Empowered, Effective and Independent Family Councils Interview with Jessica Brill Ortiz, former Consumer Voice Program Manager and Ken Pedersen, Chair of the Family Council at The Cedars
Consumer Voice's Illinois Family Council Project
Consumer Voice's Maryland Family Council Project
Family Matters newsletters.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs: In addition to acting as an advocate for residents, ombudsmen can educate residents, families and friends about resident rights, state surveys, and federal and state laws that are applicable to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Find contact information for the long-term care ombudsman in your state and county.
Consumer Voice's DVD "Strength In Numbers: The Importance of Family Councils in Nursing Homes" is an important tool for any family member interested in working with others to improve conditions at their loved one's nursing home. Enhance your knowledge of what a family council is, how to build a strong one, or how to advocate effectively as part of a family council. The DVD contains a companion booklet - Program Leader’s Guide with discussion guidance, additional resources, fact sheets and other information. Price: $30.00 per DVD or 4 DVDs for $100.00. Contact Consumer Voice at (202) 332-2275 to order a copy, or order online.
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Consumer Fact Sheet: The Rights of Family Councils in Nursing Homes
The Nursing Home Reform Law is the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA '87) was landmark legislation for federal standards for nursing home care. Click on the above link to learn more about OBRA.
NH Regulations Plus NH Regs Plus serves as a one-stop location to examine and compare the content of state regulations related to nursing homes. It contains federal nursing home regulations and nursing home regulations for all states and the District of Columbia.
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The Family Council Exchange provides family councils across the country with sample bylaws, minutes, agendas, fliers, newsletters and other council materials, so that the documents and ideas might be helpful to other councils in their daily advocacy work.
The materials provided in the Family Council Exchange have been provided to Consumer Voice by councils across the country, along with permission to post the materials. The posting of these materials is not to be construed as an endorsement by Consumer Voice of the content of any of these materials, nor does Consumer Voice condone or take any responsibility for the content and/or the accuracy of the information in the materials.
Does your council have materials you’d like to share in the Exchange? E-mail them to email@example.com. Please be sure to put Family Council Exchange in the subject line of your e-mail.
Mission Statement and Bylaws, Formulated by the family council at the Hebrew Home in Rockville, MD.
Annual Reports, Formulated by the family council at the Hebrew Home in Rockville, MD.
Monthly Newsletter: Family Council Matters, Formulated by the family council at the Minnesota Veterans Home (MVH) - Minneapolis.
Survey Used to Identify Common Concerns, Formulated by the family council at Westminster Care and Rehabilitation, Carroll County, MD, May 2000
Family Council Bylaws, Formulated by the family council at Holy Cross Nursing and Rehab Ctr., Burtonsville, MD
Membership Form, Formulated by the family council at Holy Cross Nursing and Rehab Ctr., Burtonsville, MD
View additional sample family council materials including bylaws on the Voices for Quality Care website
Family Council Questionnaire for Family Members and Friends, Formulated by Westminster Nursing Home Family Council
Family Council Public Meeting Announcement, Formulated by Relatives and Friends Council of Isabella
Family Council Membership Application, Formulated by Relatives and Friends Council of Isabella
Family Council Monthly Meeting Flier, Formulated by Relatives and Friends Council of Isabella
Family Council Courtesy Guide, Formulated by Relatives and Friends Council of Isabella
Family Council Bylaws, Formulated by Birmingham Green Family Council
Family Council Meeting Agenda, Formulated by Birmingham Green Family Council
Family Council Minutes, Formulated by Birmingham Green Family Council
Family Council Newsletter, Formulated by Advocates of Nursing Home Residents
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The Consumer Voice has several current family council initiatives related to family members and family councils.
Through the Consumer Voice's Family Councils for Quality Long Term Care: Support, Strengthen and Empower project, the Consumer Voice is working with family councils in Virginia, providing pass-through grants, support, networking and education.
If you are part of an existing family council in Virginia or want to start a council, click here to learn more about applying for a family council grant.
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In addition to forming or joining a family council, there are numerous other ways to get involved in efforts to improve long-term care in your area, and across the U.S.!
Join the Consumer Voice Action Network
As a member of the Action Network, you will receive breaking news, action steps, newsletters and opportunities for YOU to take action regarding national and state policy developments in long-term care. We will give you the tools you need to make your advocacy easier, like the ability to contact your members of Congress (and other elected officials) directly through our website or issue a letter to the editor.
Visit Consumer Voice's Policy Section
Access policy tools and information.
Learn about ways to get involved in advocacy.
Contact the long-term care ombudsman program in your state
Also visit the Pioneer Network's website.
Nursing Home Compare: This is a tool on the Medicare website that displays quality measure data, deficiencies and other information about nursing homes. It is organized by state and county to help you search for facilities near you or anywhere in the country.
Participate in the Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes Campaign
View the Consumer Voice's Resident-Directed Care or "Culture Change" information about the grassroots movement to transform the culture of aging in America.
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View additional resources (organizations and printed materials) for information for Family Councils.
Consumer Voice's Giving Voice to Quality project
The project trained nursing home residents and their families nationwide through:a series of six teleconference seminars during 2006; a web-based consumer education center and the development and electronic distribution of materials to seminar participants. Calls are available on CD for purchase, and address the following topics: Resident-Directed Care Planning; Restraint-Free Nursing Home Care; Residents' Rights; Communication; Eating with Dignity; Incontinence and Quality Care.
Technical Assistance Brief: Family Council Recognition in Long-Term Care Facilities: Family members in a nursing home can join together to form a united consumer voice which can communicate concerns to facility administrators and work for resolutions and improvements by forming a family council. Family councils can play a crucial role in voicing concerns, requesting improvements, supporting new family members and residents, and supporting facility efforts to make care and life in the facility the best it can be. Facilities are required by law to listen to the views and act upon the grievances and recommendations of residents and families concerning proposed policy and operational decisions affecting resident care and life in the facility.
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Looking for information about Resident Councils? Visit our Resident Council Center.
* Some of the information on this webpage was developed as part of a project funded by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene - Office of Health Care Quality (a five-year project to develop and strengthen family councils in MD). Materials gathered from family councils and citizen advocacy groups are included on this site. You can download the items to use in your family council work. If you would like to share family councils materials with us, and possibly other councils across the country, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.