Family Council is an independent, organized group of relatives and friends of nursing home residents who meet on a regular basis and are given the opportunity to discuss issues or concerns regarding the home. When a loved one becomes a resident at a nursing home, ask the social worker if a Family Council exists; if not, ask if the social worker could organize the group for all the families. As a family member, you can expect the facility to provide the opportunity to take part in the decision-making process and offer recommendation in the facility. Those attending will have an opportunity to ask questions and to speak up as a group. It will also provide support, encouragement and education and will help create a more home like setting for the resident. Family participation also protects the residents who are physically or mentally unable to voice their needs or concerns for themselves. This can benefit the nursing home, as well, when your constructive ideas and dissatisfactions are shared with the staff. The facility administration has a responsibility to respond to all concerns and suggestions raised by the Family Council. It will provide a means to improve communication between the resident, staff and family members as you get to know each other better. Help make the most out of your Family Council, attend the meetings and be a part of positive changes in the nursing home!