What does a Family and/or Resident Council look like?
Councils will vary in purpose and structure. Because councils are voluntary organizations, each council will be slightly different depending on the interests and needs of their members and the facility residents. Some will be small and informal, and meet occasionally, while others will be larger, more formal, and may meet more often. Some organize special events for residents and may also raise funds to buy something special that will be used by residents that live at the facility. Despite variations all councils exist to promote the collective and individual interests of persons in care and their residential community.
Variations in purpose
The goals of a council should be determined by the council and its understanding of the needs of the care facility residents. Within a mandate to promote the interests of residents, a family and/or resident council may focus their activities into many different areas such as:
- Providing information, support and encouragement to family/friend caregivers or residents
- Discussing issues of concern and seeking solutions to problems that arise
- Identifying opportunities to enhance quality of life and working on projects that will be of benefit to residents and caregivers
Variations in structure
While many persons who live in residential care facilities like to participate in councils, others may not be interested in joining a council or be unable to do so. If persons in care are not able to participate in a council, a family member can attend on their behalf. Some facilities combine the councils to encompass both residents and families while others have both a Resident Council and a Family Council. Groups should organize in a way that best meets their needs.