Presence of a resident and family council | HQCA Focus

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Presence of a resident and family council

Family members’ experience with being heard by the resident and family council at their loved one’s site, in a 2022-23 survey. (see data definition)









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Please note: Not all continuing care sites in Alberta met the HQCA’s public reporting criteria. To see what’s available at the site level, visit this page of the 2022-23 HQCA Facility-based Continuing Care  Family Experience Survey Report.

What do you think?

  • Why does it matter if a site has a resident and family council?
  • Are there differences between zones? Between providers? Between mainly rural and urban zones or sites? What factors could account for these differences?
  • How are results different in long term care?

Understanding “family experience of a resident and family council”

In a survey conducted in 2022-23, the HQCA asked family members of residents living in continuing care home:

Do you feel that participating in the resident and family council helped you feel heard about the things that matter to you?

Family members could choose “No, never / No, hardly ever / Yes, sometimes / Yes, always / I don’t know / I did not participate / No resident and family council”

A resident and family council provides the opportunity for residents and families to discuss aspects of care and services that promote resident’s quality of life, and to address resident and family concerns. The Resident and Family Councils Act gives residents and families the right to establish self-governing councils at any long term care and licensed supportive living site that serves four or more people.

The Resident and Family Councils Act does not require the presence of a council, however does require the provider to make the residents and families aware of their right to establish a council, and to support the councils and attend meetings upon request. More information about this legislation, including a toolkit for sites who need to create a council, can be found here.

Considerations when viewing the results:

Some sites have supported a resident and family council for years and for some, this is a new opportunity to engage with residents and family members. Some questions providers can ask before taking action on this result include:

  • What are the benefits and challenges of establishing a resident and family council? Are residents and family members aware of these considerations when deciding whether or not to establish a council?
  • What are some circumstances when a resident and family council could be helpful? What are some reasons why residents and families might not want or need a resident and family council?
  • For residents and families that are interested in establishing a resident and family council, how do they establish and maintain an effective one? How can site staff and leadership facilitate this? What learnings can be shared from other sites, operators, and healthcare providers? For example, a common experience and concern is that some family members can dominate meeting agendas, limiting the time for others to share helpful input. How could sites who have successfully worked through this challenge share their learnings?
  • If a site has a resident and family council and some family members responded “No” to the survey question, how are family members made aware of this resource?
  • For sites that have a resident and family council, how do you know if the council is meeting its goal to improve the quality of life of residents and to identify and address concerns?’ How is the value and effectiveness of the council evaluated?

For information about the HQCA’s Facility-based Continuing Care Survey, please visit the HQCA website.

Alberta Quality Matrix for Health

The Health Quality Council of Alberta uses the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health as a way of organizing information and thinking around the complexity of the healthcare system. This measure can be used as input to assess supported living’s performance in these dimensions of quality: Acceptability, Appropriateness, and Safety.

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