When done right, family councils can be very beneficial. Their goal is to discuss issues with staff members in a constructive, non-threatening setting. They are not supposed to be forums for constant complaining or berating of staff. At these meetings, ideas, concerns and possible solutions are shared. It is also an opportunity for bonding with staff members.
If you want to establish a council, speak with the nursing home’s administrator. These councils are common so you might not face much resistance. Establish a place, day and time to meet, as well as a format for how meetings will run and what will be addressed. You’ll also need to determine who will run such meetings, and create a way of informing all residents, family members and staff about them.
The meetings can be informal, or quite formal — complete with minutes being taken. It’s up to everyone to decide. The structure isn’t as important as getting information out and distributed.
One big function of family councils is to help arrange activities that involve both residents and their families. By this, we’re mainly talking about picnics held at the facility. These can help promote a sense of unity among residents, family members and staff. For more information, look into our Alzheimer’s Resource Kit.