Tips to Nursing Home Staff for Starting a Family Council

If your facility has families interested in starting a family council, those families will be do most of the work necessary to getting a council off the ground. As a facility administrator or staff member, your most important job will be to show your support and encouragement!

  • Talk to each family individually when the resident enters the facility and tell them the importance of the family council 
  • Include family council information in admissions packet and introduce new family members to the family council officers 
  • Offer to send out mailings and invitations 
  • Include family council information in facility newsletters 
  • Provide meals/refreshments for family council meetings 
  • Offer educational presentations on departmental duties, facility policies, billing information, disease process, etc. 
  • Offer periodic question and answer sessions 
  • Assure that the families have a private place to meet 
  • Hold staff in-service trainings on the importance of the family council and challenge all staff to continually consider "customer service." 

The Ontario Family Councils' Project found that family councils needed guidance during beginning development stages. On average, there were 6 meetings before family members felt ready to assume leadership responsibilities. However, all family councils must begin with the understanding that the ultimate goal is a self-led, self-determining independent group of family member.