Resident Councils of Washington Publication

Resident Council Handbook

This handbook offers help to create or restructure resident councils in health care facilities. The Resident Council Handbook is a valuable how-to-manual, offering hand-on guidelines to developing a resident council in your senior resident, nursing home or health care facility.

The goal of this project is simple and singular: to create opportunities for residents to make and execute meaningful decisions.

In preparing this work, we realize that individuals come to long-term care from a variety of educational, professional and life experiences. We also recognize that staff, residents, and sometimes a combination of both, will use this book. Some of the material may be familiar; some of it new. Key concepts are emphasized throughout by means of purposeful repetition.

Section 1: Why a Resident Council? — discusses the need to understand the overall impact of autonomy and empowerment on the well-being of long-term-care residents. This chapter directs discussion about complex elements and players in the long-term-care setting. The focus is on how a resident council may create opportunities for residents to make and execute meaningful decisions.

Section 2: Beginning and Operating a Resident Council — provides the fundamental pieces to consider in developing a new council or revitalizing an existing council, such as planning, bylaws, resources, room settings and frequency of council meetings.

Section 3: Roles of a Resident Council — reviews the many players who interact in the long-term-care setting resident council. It also discusses how actions and interactions of all the players (residents, staff, administration, ombudsman, family and community) can affect the success of a resident council.

Section 4: Nuts and Bolts (Building from the Foundation) — offers practical ideas for marketing and promoting your council and its work, a trouble-shooting aid to answer those frequently asked questions.