Many nursing homes have them. But some don’t. I tell my clients who have a loved one in a nursing home: If the home doesn’t have one…start it yourself!
If set up and managed properly, family councils can be very beneficial – for the home as well as the families, because administrators can learn a lot. The goal is to discuss issues of importance to the families, while avoiding a blame-first atmosphere.
It’s not a place to hold complaint sessions; that’s a private matter between you and the administration. It’s not a place to degrade the facility or the staff; that’ll only make things worse. It is a place, however, to share ideas and concerns…and, hopefully, solutions. And it can become, if pursued in this spirit, a place where you can bond with the people who care for your loved one.
Your first step should be to speak with the administrator about creating a family council. You probably won’t face much resistance, as these are now fairly common. Ask for her help in setting things up. Find out which rooms might be available, what day and time would be good, who should facilitate the meetings, and how to get the word out about the meetings. Then, at the first meeting, discuss the schedule with the other families.
Some councils have “formal” meetings, with minutes, etc. Don’t get hung up on formal structures; the important thing is to arrive at solutions in an open, participatory manner.
In addition to problem-solving, a key function of a council is to arrange activities involving residents and families, such as picnics on the grounds. These special occasions can help foster a feeling of unity among residents, families, and staff.
If you’ve got a loved one in a nursing home, you’ve got questions. At the Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’ve got answers.
We’re Elder Law attorneys. And we’ve been answering South Florida families’ questions for 33 years, and helping them prepare for the future with comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, and assistance with Medicaid and the VA.
We can answer your questions, too. And we’re just a phone call away.
How Can I Start a Family Council at my Husband’s Nursing Home?