Photo © Courtesy of Family Councils Ontario
When you hear the word home, what do you think of? For some, it may be the place they return to after a long day’s work. For others, the word may bring back memories of childhood or family. We say we feel at home when we are relaxed, comfortable in our environment, and at ease. It’s the feeling of knowing you’re safe, surrounded by those who care.
For at least 115,000 residents across over 600 homes in Ontario, home is a long-term care community.
Each long-term care home is a unique community of residents, family members, friends, staff, administrators, nurses, and support workers. While the locations, room layouts, cultural communities, and other factors we consider when selecting housing may differ from home to home, long-term care homes are fundamentally connected by their responsibilities to, and the rights of, those in their care. One such right is the right for residents’ families and friends in each long-term care home to have a family council.
A family council is a group of family members and friends of the residents of a long-term care home who voluntarily meet for peer support, education, and to advocate for the improvement of their loved one’s care, home, and community. Family Council members and caregivers are often the backbones of the long-term care communities, providing hundreds of hours of unpaid care that extends to meet fundamental care needs and the emotional needs of residents. These same council members and caregivers often take it upon themselves to organize meetings, request information, research policy and procedure, and attend information sessions—all to better support their loved ones living in long-term care.
At Family Councils Ontario, it is our mission, honour, and privilege to work toward bettering the quality of life and care within every long-term care home through the support of and collaboration with family councils. We know how difficult the decision to move into long-term care can be and are actively working on resources to help ease the transition process.
Our team connects with community leaders and organizations across long-term care, aging studies, and caregiver supports to ensure family councils are equipped with the information, resources, and tools they need. Our thought leadership extends to the government through the Ministry of Long-Term Care, where our voice has continued to influence policy and procedure throughout the long-term care sector. However, some of our most important work happens when we simply pick up the phone.
Every single day, our team connects directly with the community we serve. Whether it is a council member seeking support, a family member wanting information on starting their own council, or a resident connecting with us regarding our resources and opportunities, we have come to know the long term care community quite well over the years, and we hope to continue to do so.
Connect & Care with Family Councils Ontario www.fco.ngo
About Family Councils Ontario
Family Councils Ontario works with long-term care home residents’ families, Family Councils, and home staff across Ontario to enable them to cultivate positive relationships, build effective Family Councils, and improve the long-term care experience.