The Importance of Family Councils in Elder Care

Having a support system is vital. Even more vital is having a support system that can offer advice and guidance if you need memory care or become unable to make decisions for yourself. That’s where family councils come in. A family council can help in so many ways as you age, making it an important thing to establish as soon as possible. 

The Purpose of Family Councils

According to California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), a family council acts as not only a source of advice for you, but also as a liaison between you and the nursing care facility and doctors. As a group with your best interests at heart, they are a “united voice with mutual goals and concerns.” These groups can influence facilities and administrative members as well as doctors helping improve care for all residents. 

Family Councils

California state law includes California’s Family Council bill, part of Health & Safety Code §1418.4, which went into effect in 1989. This bill includes the following provisions:

  • Defines “Family Council” as a meeting of family members, friends or representatives of two or more residents to confer in private without facility staff.
  • No facility may prohibit the formation of a family council when requested by a member of the resident’s family or the resident’s representative.

Additionally, family councils have the following rights:

  • The family council shall be allowed to meet in a common meeting room of the facility at least once a month during mutually agreed upon hours.
  • Facilities shall in no way limit the right of residents, family members and family council members to meet independently with outside persons or with facility personnel.
  • Staff or visitors may attend family council meetings at the group’s invitation.

Any facility that does not allow family councils to meet and exercise their rights can be fined and issued a citation. As a member of the community and loved one of the residents under the care of a nursing home facility, it is important that you know your rights in California. To take part in family council can make real change and help improve the nursing home industry overall.

Family Council Resources

CANHR offers a number of resources to help individuals form family councils. Check out the following resources and get involved in your nursing home community!

If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect call Gharibian Law (877-460-1187) for a free consultation and the best legal representation.