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Resident Council Center

Information, Tips and Tools

Residents in a facility can join to form a united consumer voice which can communicate concerns to facility administrators and work for resolutions and improvements by forming a resident council. Resident councils can play a crucial role in voicing concerns, requesting improvements, supporting new residents and supporting facility efforts to make care and life in the facility the best it can be. Join and support the resident council at your facility! If no resident council exists, join with other residents to form one.

This page contains information on Consumer Voice Projects related to resident councils, resident council rights that are protected by federal law, regulations applying to long-term care facilities, effective council advocacy and tools for forming an effective council. Click on a topic below to learn more.

Resident Council Rights and Federal Laws & Regulations

The Nursing Home Reform Law is the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1982 (OBRA '87)  was landmark legislation for federal standards for nursing home care. The Act guarantees nursing home residents a number of important rights to enhance their nursing home experience and improve facility-wide services and conditions. Key among these rights is the right to form and hold regular private meetings of an organized group called a resident council.

View the factsheet to learn more about  the Rights of Resident Councils in Nursing Homes.

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Resident Council Exchange

If you would like to share resident council materials with us, and possibly other councils across the country, please send them to info@theconsumervoice.org. Possible materials to share include a sample council flier, sample bylaws or sample minutes.

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Residents' Rights

Residents' Rights are guaranteed by the federal 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law, and nursing homes must meet  federal residents' rights requirements if they participate in Medicare or Medicaid.

  • View a fact sheet on the topic: Residents' Rights.

  • Residents' Rights Month is an annual event that takes place every October to celebrate the rights of all residents of long-term care.  Visit our Events page for more information on this year's Residents' Rights Month theme or Archived Events to see themes from past years.

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Fact Sheets

Find fact sheets with consumer-friendly information on issues affecting residents such as residents' rights, malnutrition, the use of restraints and changing the culture of long-term care facilities.

Additional fact sheets:

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Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs

Find contact information for the long-term care ombudsman program in your state
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.

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Learn and Take Action!

Improve long-term care in your area and across the U.S.!

  • Visit the Consumer Voice's Policy Section:

    • View up-to-date information on Congressional Hearings, Bulletins, Legislative Proposals, etc.

    • Access policy tools and information

    • Learn about ways to get involved as an advocate.

  • Advocate Effectively:

    • Read a list of suggestions for advocacy tips as you advocate for yourself, including how to document concerns.

  • Contact the long-term care ombudsman program in your state:

    • In addition to acting as an advocate for residents, ombudsmen can educate residents, families and friends about resident rights, state surveys and laws, federal and state, that are applicable to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

  • Participate in the in the Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes Campaign:

    • Consumer Voice encourages all consumers to participate in this national campaign. This is an opportunity to promote quality care practices in every nursing home in the country.

    • Learn more about the Consumer Voice's involvement in the Campaign, and ways you can get involved!

  • Visit the Nursing Home Compare website:

    • 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.

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Consumer Voice Resident Council Projects

Learn more about the Consumer Voice projects related to family members and 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.

  • Free Resident Conference Call Series

    • In 2010 and 2011, Consumer Voice hosted a series of free national conference calls for residents of nursing homes. The calls provided hundreds of residents across the country with education and resources to become empowered advocates for quality care and quality of life, both for themselves and for their peers who lack the capacity to self-advocate. Click on the link to learn more about each call and to access pertinent informational handouts.

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Additional Resources

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Looking for information about Family Councils? Visit our Family Council Center.