Family Councils Improve Quality of Care

California seems to be on the forefront of legislation aimed at improving the lives of nursing home residents. The legislature recently approved AB 1457, which provides transparency in the shell game of nursing home ownership and operation. 

California also has legislation in place which improves on the idea of Resident Councils by creating Family Councils. Resident Councils can have any number of residents as members, and are usually facilitated by the facility. The downside of a Resident Council is that there is no check on the accountability of the system. A problem may get reported to a Resident Council but not acted on. A Family Council allows two extra prongs of accountability. First, the Family Council involves not just residents, but family members external to the nursing home. These family members can push back without worry of the inherent power dynamic that is involved in an elder care relationship. Second, the concerns of the Family Council must be addressed by law. According to Walton Barber, the law in California provides improved protections not available in other states:

California law allows the creation of "family councils" by relative of a nursing home resident to help influence the quality of care given to a resident. Not merely gripe sessions, these councils can facilitate communications between families and residents with the nursing home staff and caregivers, and also offer peer support for friends and relatives of the resident, and help prevent substandard care.

A nursing home may not prohibit the formation of a family council, and must allow the council to meet on the grounds of the facility at least once a month. In addition the home must designate a staff member who is responsible for assisting the council, and to respond to all written requests made by the council.

Maybe its time to look at these types of protections in Washington. Below is a short video on Family Councils.

About Kevin
Kevin Coluccio was recently named one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Washington State. He has long history of successful elder abuse/neglect cases and has a stellar reputation for getting results for his injury clients in serious car crashes, pedestrian accidents, trucking accidents, maritime claims, and asbestos injury cases.