Admission to a long-term care facility is a life-changing event for both the person who is admitted and their family. The admitted person becomes a resident in his or her new permanent home.
Family members are entrusting their loved one to an unfamiliar environment and a group of staff they may not know very well.
Everyone involved takes comfort in the fact that the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (the Ministry) sets strict standards for nursing homes through the Long-Term Care Homes Act.
One important support described in the Act is the Family Council, which is made up of family members and/or people who are important to residents of the nursing home, such as close friends.
Members of the nursing home staff and leadership team attend Family Council meetings by invitation only.
Family Councils provide assistance, information and advice to residents and their loved ones. They are a forum for family members to discuss issues, opportunities, concerns or requests that are forwarded to the nursing home leadership.
For example, family members were involved in the design of the new Fairview Manor (FVM) building, and recent renovations to the interior courtyard were the result of conversations with the Family Council about the access challenges some residents in wheelchairs were experiencing.
The Family Council also provides an opportunity for family members to support each other through challenging or stressful times. Many Family Councils also collaborate with community groups and volunteers to arrange activities for residents or fundraising events.
A key responsibility of the Family Council is the review of Ministry inspection reports about the home. FVM receives three copies of every inspection report—one of which is for the Family Council. This openness and transparency helps to ensure that families have confidence in the care their loved one is receiving.
FVM’s Family Council is an important partner in the team that surrounds our residents. The Council would welcome expressions of interest from family members who would like to participate. If you have a loved one in living in another nursing home, please consider joining that home’s Family Council.
Mary Wilson Trider is the President & CEO of Almonte General Hospital and Fairview Manor