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Family Councils


The primary purpose of a family council is for families, as a group, to influence the quality of care and life for the residents. They also offer a forum to enhance communications with the facility administration and staff and offer peer support for the relatives and friends of residents. By presenting a united voice with mutual goals and concerns, members are more willing to speak out and are less afraid of being isolated and threatened, and they can address the problems of all residents, rather than a few.

Note: Although these materials are based on laws governing nursing homes, the information on the purpose of Family Councils and tips on how to organize and run Family Councils is also relevant to Residential Care/Assisted Living facilities. (For laws governing Residential Care/Assisted Living click here.)

Please check the links below for more detailed information:

You can also download a printable version of our booklet, "Organizing Family Councils in Long Term Care Facilities" (pdf) which has a sample letter to the administrator, minutes, and recommendations form, as well as the information included in the above links.


Watch a short online video – Family Councils: Making a Difference.

Obtain a Free DVD - Family Councils: Making a Difference: Shows how families can create change in nursing homes! This DVD is a great resource for family members, long term care ombudsmen, and anyone interested in improving care in nursing homes or residential care/assisted living facilities.