Alliance of Family Councils of NY

Resident Councils and Family Councils

Richard Danford

All residents of Long-Term Care facilities have a right to participate in a Resident Council. Their family members have a right to participate in a Family Council. The purpose of these groups, among other things, is to allow members to support each other and offer suggestions about facility policies and procedures affecting residents’ care, treatment, and quality of life.

The following standards reflect the legal requirements enforced by the New York Department of Health regarding these groups:

The facility must listen and respond to Resident Council and Family Council recommendations and grievances. The facility must seriously consider the group’s recommendations and must attempt to accommodate those recommendations, to the extent practicable, in developing and changing facility policies affecting resident care and life in the facility. The facility should communicate its decisions to the resident and/or family group, and must respond in writing to written requests from the family council within 10 working days.

In addition, in New York State every nursing home must establish a resident council (whereas family councils depend upon the desire of family members to organize one).

The New York State regulations for both resident councils and family councils are more extensive than their federal counterparts and contain additional important provisions. Links to both may be found in the Resources section of this web site.