Specialized Information for:

Nursing HomesAssisted Living/Board & Care Home and Community Based Services
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Family and Resident Councils

The Older Americans Act requires ombudsmen to support the development of resident and family councils. This page contains rescources for ombudsmen and for ombudsmen to pass on to consumers.

Resources for Long-Term Care Ombudsmen


Nursing Home Resident Conference Call Series
For the past three years, the Consumer Voice has hosted a series of free national conference calls for residents of nursing homes. They provided hundreds of residents across the country with education and resources to become empowered advocates for quality care and quality of life, both for themselves and for their peers who lack the capacity to self-advocate. Click on the links below to learn more about each call and to access pertinent informational handouts.

Supporting Resident and Family Councils Inservice Training

UPDATED: Working with Families: Tips for Effective Communication and Strategies for Challenging Situations (Updated July 2014)
This paper and supplemental resources provide tips, resources and strategies to help ombudsmen improve their skills in working with families. The paper reviews key communication techniques that are important for ombudsmen in their interactions with and communicating their role to families and discusses examples of challenging situations and strategies for assisting families during those situations. The appendices include materials for ombudsmen to use to help family members enrich their communication skills related to problem solving, inform them about their rights and the facility’s responsibilities, and teach them how to self-advocate.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Guide to Developing and Supporting Family Councils (2003)
This guide offers practical suggestions for ombudsman to help families form strong family-run councils. The manual addresses creating a new council, maintaining a council and strengthening a council, with the primary focus on the development of a new council.

Family Guide to Effective Family Councils (2003) - This is a large document; please contact the NORC staff to receive a copy.
A nursing home family council that is run by family members can be a powerful force for improvement in a nursing home. This guide is designed to help families develop and maintain a strong, effective, family-run council. It provides step-by-step guidance, as well as sample forms that can be adapted and used in your area.

Resources to Share with Consumers

Family Council Brochure (2013)
The Consumer Voice has created a new brochure to help educate on the topic of empowered, effective and independent family councils. The brochure contains information on what a family council is, rights and best practices, resources and grant opportunities, and examples of family council activities. This is an excellent resource for current family councils or those interested in starting a council. Check it out to learn more!

Visit the Consumer Voice website for more information on the development and support of resident and family councils.

Ombudsman Best Practices

The CT LTCOP reported on the progress of the CT Statewide Coalition of Presidents of Resident Councils Executive Board. The State Ombudsman supports and facilitates the work of the Executive Board through regular meetings and conference calls, financial support to attend meetings in some instances and assistance with meetings with legislators and policy makers.  (2011)

District of Columbia
The DC LTCOP organized and hosted the first annual Leadership Conference for presidents of resident and family councils at local nursing home, and organized a forum for social workers of long-term care facilities addressing issues with the return of residents to their homes via home and community based services.  (2011)

Information to Share with Consumers

Family Council Brochure

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