R.K MacDonald Nursing Home Family Council Terms of Reference May 2016 – May 2017

Aug 10, 2016

 R.K MacDonald Nursing Home

Family Council Terms of Reference

May 2016 – May 2017

 R.K.MacDonald Family Council Summary Minutes (January-June 2016) – Terms of Reference


In the late fall of 2015 Mr. Terry MacIntyre (R.K. Director of Rehab) invited interested relatives of R.K. MacDonald residents to meet with him and begin the process of forming a viable, effective, and autonomous Family Council within the facility.  As part of the process, this nascent Family Council has met regularly to review and consider a variety of family council models.  Several resources were used in this review including a guide prepared by Mr. MacIntyre, as well as models suggested by The Association of Advocates for Care Reform (British Columbia), and related documents published by the governments of Ontario and Nova Scotia.  Ms. Kerstin Mueller and Ms. Nelly Fiaz were invited by the Council to act as non-voting, outside consultants for this document review. The summary report they developed proved to be a valuable asset as the Council considered the various model options and their constitutions.

Detailed below are the Terms of Reference developed and ratified by the current R.K. MacDonald Family Council at its regular meeting on June 8, 2016. The ratifying and publication of these terms concludes the Council’s initial and fundamental task of creating the basic structural elements felt necessary to establish a “viable, effective, and autonomous” R.K.MacDonald Family Council. It is expected that these Terms of Reference shall be reviewed (and possibly revised) regularly. Included in the current terms is a process for making amendments to the terms.

It should be noted that the question of membership size (limited or open) has not been included in the current terms.  After considerable discussion, the current Council felt that important question should be addressed at a general meeting to be held in May of 2017.  All relatives, friends, and advocates of current R/K. MacDonald residents shall be invited to attend that meeting and contribute to resolving this remaining issue.

Family Council Terms of Reference (2016 – 2017)

The R.K. MacDonald Family Council is an organized, autonomous (self-led/ self-determining), democratic group composed of family, friends, and advocates of R.K. MacDonald residents.


The R.K. MacDonald Family Council envisions a compassionate, collaborative, and mutually supportive community of personal and professional caregivers


R.K. MacDonald Family Council’s mission to is to work collaboratively with residents’ family members, friends, and advocates; the Residents’ Council; and the administration and staff of the R.K. to enhance the quality of care and life experienced by the residents of the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home.


The Family Council shall carry out its mission through a variety of functions among them being:

– Providing ongoing mutual support, counsel, education, and encouragement to current, new, and prospective family, friends, and advocates of R.K. MacDonald residents..

– Providing an effective forum for Family Council members to identify, discuss, and clarify collective concerns, needs, and complaints with respect to the quality of care provided by the Home.

– Providing a united, “collective voice” to effectively and productively communicate those concerns, needs, complaints to the administration and staff of the R.K. MacDonald for the purpose of remediation.

– Providing constructive program/policy ideas, proposals, recommendations, and critiques to collaboratively help enhance the quality of care and life for R.K. residents.

– Providing practical assistance and counsel when requested to family, friends, and advocates  addressing a concern through the “Single Family Resolution Process”

– Encouraging and facilitating effective two-way communication with the Home’s administration/staff, residents, and the family, friends, and advocates of residents not directly involved in the Family Council.

– Acknowledging, commending, supporting, and encouraging excellence in care in terms of management and staff’s practice, programs, policies and initiatives within the R.K.


Membership on the R.K. Macdonald Family Council shall be restricted to family members, friends (persons of importance), and/or advocates of current

residents of the R.K.. Members shall sit for an initial term of two years with the option of serving a second consecutive two year term if desired (or elected. See note on limited/open membership size in introduction) .  Additional terms of membership may be granted in exceptional cases with the approval of the majority of the current Council membership provided the member in question remains a family member, friend, or advocate of a current RK resident. Should  the resident of Family Council member pass away, the Council member may complete his or her term of membership or resign from the Council at any time before the expiration of that term.

Council Meetings

Regular Family Council meetings shall take place at the R.K. on the second Wednesday of each month beginning at 3:30.  Additional meetings may take place when deemed necessary by the Council.

The regular meeting in May shall be the “annual meeting” and shall be for the purpose of electing officers (if necessary), receiving and reviewing reports of officers and committees, and for any other general business including reviewing and potentially amending the terms of reference.

Council Officers

The officers of the Family Council shall be a Chair and a Secretary.  The Chair or designate shall be the spokesperson and liaison with the Administration and any outside agency.

Officers shall be elected by secret ballot for two year terms. No officer shall serve more than two consecutive terms.

Election of officers shall in normal circumstances take place at the annual meeting in May.  Should an officer resign before completing his or her term of office,  a new officer shall be elected at the next regular meeting following that resignation.

Decision Making

Decisions shall be made by full consensus or following voting procedures as outlined in Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised depending upon the number of members in attendance, the significance of the action to be taken, the discretion of the Chair, or the wish of the members.  Between meetings in circumstances where a decision is urgent and necessary the Chair can act on behalf of the Family Council. Such “independent” decisions shall be presented by the Chair to all Council members at the next Council meeting for their review.  That presentation shall include an explanation of the circumstances requiring the Chair’s independent action as well as the Chair’s rationale for the specific decision/action taken.

Community Engagement

From time to time, in order to better carry out its mission, the Family Council may invite members of the general public to assist the Council by serving on various special Council committees.  The focus of such committees shall be limited in terms of scope and time and such special committees shall be dissolved after completion of their Council designated tasks.  Community members on such special committees shall be considered “consultants” and shall not have Council voting privileges.

The Family Council shall also encourage community engagement in carrying out its mission by encouraging public presentations by individuals or groups from the community with knowledge and or skills acknowledged as beneficial to enhancing the quality of care and life for R.K. residents

Family Council Staff Assistant

The R.K. MacDonald Family Council may ask the administrator of the Home to appoint a mutually acceptable Family Council Staff Assistant to help facilitate two-way communication and collaboration between the administration and the Council.  The Staff Assistant’s attendance at any Council meeting in whole or in part shall be at the discretion of the Council.


Amendments  to these terms of reference shall be considered and voted on at the annual meeting in May.  Terms of reference amendments shall be approved with a 2/3 majority.  Notice of any and all proposed terms of reference amendments must be provided to all Council members at least one month before the May meeting.


Minutes for all Council meetings shall be recorded by the Council Secretary and posted online at the R.K. MacDonald website no later than ten days after each meeting.  Printed copies of the Council minutes shall also be placed in a designated binder and placed in the foyer of the R.K.