A Study of Family Councils in Nursing Homes

Linda CoxCurryPhD, RNCharlesWalkerPhD, RNMildred O.HogstelPhD, RN, BCMary BethWalkerMS, RN

Families can remain actively involved in the care of their residents by participating in a Family Council within the nursing home (NH).

A Family Council is an independent, self-determining group of NH residents’ families and friends and often includes a nursing facility liaison. 

Problem: Less than half of NHs has an active council. 

Purpose: To determine the presence, characteristics, and impact of Family Councils. 

Method: A descriptive study was conducted. Mailed surveys to NH administrators and personal interviews of Family Council members were included in this study.

The survey was mailed to administrators in all 60 licensed NHs in a metropolitan county in the southwestern United States. 

Results: Sixteen NH administrators responded, with 12 (75%) of the 16 reporting the presence of an active Family Council. Three administrators provided the name of a member of their facility’s Family Council who were interviewed by telephone. Both the survey and personal interview results supported the positive effect of active Family Councils to provide mutual support, empower its members, and advocate change to improve the residents’ quality of life.

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