Enhancing Care, Enhancing Life

Enhancing Care, Enhancing Life

Increased and meaningful patient and family engagement is a major priority in Ontario’s health, home and community care sectors. In 2013, The Change Foundation published a comprehensive three-part report on the development and best practices surrounding patient and family advisory councils in Ontario. This work left us wanting to investigate other engagement models that were being used to advance patient- and family-centred care. Namely, Residents’ Councils and Family Councils in Ontario’s 622 long-term care (LTC) homes.

Enhancing Care, Enhancing Life showcases key findings from phase one of the Foundation’s Long-Term Care Resident Councils and Family Councils Project. The report summarizes and compares results from three surveys to long-term care residents, family members, and administrators/staff assistants to give an overview of the actions the councils are currently taking within LTC homes, the time commitments involved, and how their role, effectiveness and impact are being perceived.

Overall, the report summarizes four key findings from phase one:

1. The councils are seen as performing three main roles

Survey respondents identified three predominant roles being played by the Residents’ and Family Councils: enhancing the quality of life for residents, enhancing the quality of care for residents, and information sharing. These roles were chosen in varying frequency and proportion by the different survey groups, but were consistently the top three.

2. People who take part see the councils as more effective than those who don’t

For both Residents’ Councils and Family Councils, a strong majority of participants believe their council is fulfilling its role—but more than one-third of non-participating residents and more than half of non-participating family members felt otherwise.

3. Administrators believe the councils are important; so do the staff who work with the councils

When asked about the importance of the councils, a majority of administrators and staff assistants consistently said the councils are either extremely or fairly important to the function and operation of the home and to its culture.

4. The councils’ impact on relationships varies

Respondents say there is a greater tendency for Residents’ Councils to improve relationships between residents and staff than there is for Family Councils to improve relationships between family members and staff.

Findings from Enhancing Care, Enhancing Life will drive a limited number of case studies which will build on the results of the surveys as part of the project’s second phase. Sites for each case study have been selected from survey participants.

Learn more about the second phase of the Foundation’s Long-Term Care Resident Councils and Family Councils Project.

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