Family Council/Groups

July, 2004

Information Bulletin 04-14

Family Council/Groups


The purpose of this bulletin is to communicate information about:

  1. The involvement of family councils/groups in nursing homes and boarding care homes as outlined in state and federal requirements;

  2. The obligation of nursing homes and boarding care homes to establish resident and family councils; and

  3. The involvement of family council/groups in the nursing home survey process.

Because state and federal requirements address together in the same regulatory grouping both family groups and resident groups, both are included in this document.

This information bulletin applies to federal and state licensure requirements.

Obligation of Nursing Facilities to Establish Family Councils

Nursing facilities are required to make attempts to establish resident and family councils. This is reviewed during the nursing home licensure survey process.

Minnesota Statutes 144A.10 subdivision 8b states:

Resident advisory council. Each nursing home or boarding care home shall establish a resident advisory council and a family council, unless fewer than three persons express an interest in participating. If one or both councils do not function, the nursing home or boarding care home shall document its attempts to establish the council or councils at least once each calendar year. This subdivision does not alter the rights of residents and families provided by section 144.651, subdivision 27. A nursing home or boarding care home that is issued a notice of noncompliance with a correction order for violation of this subdivision shall be assessed a civil fine of $100 for each day of noncompliance.

Family Council/Group Involvement

Both federal and state requirements address the rights of residents and families to organize councils or groups and responsibilities of nursing facilities:

Minnesota Statutes 144.651 subdivision 27 under the patients and residents of health care facilities bill of rights states:

Advisory councils. Residents and their families shall have the right to organize, maintain, and participate in resident advisory and family councils. Each facility shall provide assistance and space for meetings. Council meetings shall be afforded privacy, with staff or visitors attending only upon the council's invitation. A staff person shall be designated the responsibility of providing this assistance and responding to written requests which result from council meetings. Resident and family councils shall be encouraged to make recommendations regarding facility policies.

Federal Nursing Home regulations under CFR 483.15 states:

CFR 483.15(c) Participation in Resident and Family Groups: (1) A resident has the right to organize and participate in resident groups in the facility; (2) A resident's family has the right to meet in the facility with the families of other residents in the facility; (3) The facility must provide a resident or family group, if one exists, with private space; (4) Staff or visitors may attend meetings at the group's invitation; (5) The facility must provide a designated staff person responsible for providing assistance and responding to written requests that result from group meetings;

CFR483.15(c)(6) When a resident or family group exists, the facility must listen to the views and act upon the grievances and recommendations of residents and families concerning proposed policy and operational decisions affecting resident care and life in the facility.

Resident and Family Advisory Council Education

Minnesota Statutes 144A.33 Subdivision 1 addresses resident and family advisory council education. In Minnesota this is implemented by the ElderCare Rights Alliance under contract with The Minnesota Board on Aging and administered by The Ombudsman for Older Minnesotans.

Educational program. Each resident and family council authorized under section 144.651 , subdivision 27, shall be educated and informed about the following: (1) care in the nursing home or board and care home; (2) resident rights and responsibilities;(3) resident and family council organization and maintenance;(4) laws and rules that apply to homes and residents;(5) human relations; and (6) resident and family self-help methods to increase quality of care and quality of life in a nursing home or board and care home.

Effective August 1, 2004: Family Council/Group Involvement in Nursing Home Survey Process

Minnesota Law, effective August 1, 2004, requires that nursing facility family councils be interviewed as part of the nursing home survey process and be invited to the exit conference.

Minnesota Statutes 144A.101 Subdivision 6 states: Nursing facility family councils shall be interviewed as part of the survey process and invited to participate in the exit conference.

Attached to this information bulletin is the Family Council/Group Interview tool (PDF). Effective August 1, 2004, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) staff will use this tool during the nursing home survey process to interview members of the family council/group. Comments for improvement with this are welcome and will be evaluated.

Family Council/Group Resources:

Family members may have further questions or comments about participation in family groups. Below are resources:

  1. Your Nursing Home. MDH directory of providers includes nursing homes and may be accessed via the Health Care Facility and Provider Database.

  2. Office of Ombudsman for Long Term Care.

  3. ElderCare Rights Alliance [expired link]

If you have any questions regarding this Information Bulletin, please contact in writing:

Minnesota Department of Health
Health Regulation Division
Licensing and Certification Program
85 East Seventh Place, Suite 300
PO Box 64900, St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0900
Telephone: (651) 201-4101

Updated Friday, February 06, 2015 at 03:34PM