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Resident Council Frustration

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Hi! We are having some issues with our resident council that I am not quite sure how to handle. Our president, who was elected by default a couple of years ago (no one else wanted the job), is now declining and unable fulfill his duties. He is unable to communicate clearly and falls asleep during the meetings. All of our other officers have passed away in the last year or so. The other residents either do not want to hold a position or are unable to do so. Any suggestions on how we can restructure our resident council?

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How often do you hold elections and when was the last time you had elections? Do you have By-Laws; and if so do they state that the offices can be completed by a staff member if no resident is able to fulfill the duties? If this is not the case with your By-Laws, you wmay want to add an Amendment to refect this.

 

I have an Amendment in my By-Laws that states:

 

Amendments may be made to these By-Laws at any regular or special meeting of the Council by a two-thirds vote, providing the suggested changes are read at the previous regular meeting prior to the voting. Amendments will go into affect immediately.

 

This gives you a chance to introduce any changes you need to make, give residents a chance to think about the changes and you have a record in your minutes of the proposed changes.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Ella

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We have the same issue in our Skilled Nursing Unit. We are contemplating having a Family Council instead. Our Special Care/Dementia Unit uses a Family Council and it is proving to work to the Unit's/Residents benefit.

 

Good Luck!!

Deana

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You might want to try changing the positions to shorter serving terms. Another suggestion would be to do something to entice residents to run for positions. Special incentives or acknowledgement on the day of the meeting for residents that hold positions on the resident council.

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Thanks for all of the advice. We have tried offering incentives but noone was interested. I like the idea of a family council. No one in the facility can seem to find a copy of the resident council by-laws so we are looking at writing some with resident approval. We are also looking at having 3-5 residents that would be the council representatives. They would take turns with the various duties. This is getting some positive response because there is not an actual title to the postition; makes them feel like they are not making such a committment if they choose to be a leader. Will keep working at it until we find a solution that works. My concern is that our window opens soon and our surveyors were just trained in the new process. I don't like having issues like this hanging over my head; when they are here, there is enough aggravation

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I may be wrong here, but I believe that the resident council must be seperate from the family council. I have not had the issues you describe, but have been in state workshops for our Activity Director's Association (In.) where some were in a similiar position. They solved it by changing from having officers to having a committee et. the Activity Director facilitated the meetings. This is with resident approval & I would carefully document this in the minutes. Our bylaws are ancient & don't even apply anymore, but I have them in the front of our minutes. We just finished our survey today & they made no comment about it.

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There are a few things to keep in mind:

 

First there is no reason to have a Resident Council if the resident's don't want one. On a monthly basis you can have a survey to see if they want one or not. (documentation is key to not having one)

 

Second, you could ask for floor representatives, that way no one is in charge. They can then represent the floor that they live on or nieghborhood. That way you have some people to put on the FSR and you can still have your meeting.

 

A Family Council is seperate from Resident Council.

 

Having guest speakers at your resident council and having refreshments would entice residents to attend. You don't have to have the traditional meeting and can have speakers from the community to talk about various things including the Arthritis Foundation and the MS Society depending on your residents.

 

Just a feww thoughts

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We have a resident council without any "board members," I serve as their liason/secratary and just hold the meeting monthly to remind them of their rights, of upcoming events, facility anouncements, and allow them time to voice their comments or complaints. Any issues are passed along to the appropriate department head.

 

And I was under the impression that having a Resident Council Meeting is a requirement, well at least it is in NJ. And it must be separate from Family Council, which is not a requirement.

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Neither Resident or Family Council are required in Michigan but both are a plus when Surveyors come to your facility. As far as President, Vice President etc. just make sure that your By-Laws state that the Activity staff can act as these Officers in the event the Resident is unable to complete the job duties and/or there is no Resident interested in filling the position.

 

Make sure you have this documented and make sure that you always have two staff members present at the council meeting along with documenting those names. As with everything else documentation is the name of the game.

 

Document well in the minutes what the residents comments, concerns and questions were and make sure that you have a follow-up paper trail on those concerns.

 

Ella

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It is my understanding as well that we are required to hold monthly resident council meetings as well as offer family council meetings.

 

We have been somewhat successful by having the activity staff lead the meeting with permission of the resident council pres. We also jump around by halls asking that west hall meets in January, West hall February etc and then once all halls have held their individual council meeting we hold an all hall meeting in our activity space led by our director of social services.

 

Our family council meetings are held by our executive director and he has had no turnout. I'm not sure if that's good or not : )

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