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

The Older Americans Act requires Ombudsman programs to support the development of resident and family councils. This page contains resources for Ombudsman programs to use and share with consumers.


Resources for Long-Term Care Ombudsmen

NORC Resources

Quarterly Technical Assistance (TA) Talks - Resident Councils (March 30, 2022)

View the PowerPoint slides as a PDF

This TA Talk was part of a quarterly dialogue series to increase direct access to technical assistance. The speakers (Stephanie Wheeler, Alaska State Ombudsman; Patty Ducayet, Texas State Ombudsman; and Melissa Tye Whitaker, Managing Local Ombudsman, Amarillo, Texas) shared their best practices for helping to get resident councils started and working with them to make sure they were as effective as possible.

Resident Council Basics and Insights for Advocates (March 2022)
This PowerPoint presentation was given to long-term care Ombudsman program representatives by NORC and Consumer Voice.

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.

Consumer Voice Resources


Nursing Home Resident Conference Call Series
In 2010 and 2011, 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


Ombudsman Program Examples

View Ombudsman program examples on family and resident councils


Information to Share with Consumers

Family Council Brochure (2018)
The Consumer Voice has created a 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.



View archive here

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.

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