Burnbrae administrator hopeful about rejuvenated family council

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April Faux says changing the wording of invitations made the difference

Burnbrae Gardens, like many Ontario long-term care homes, has struggled to maintain a family council. But when administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator April Faux recently changed the wording in a recent invite to a family council meeting, she was surprised by the interest it garnered.

In the notice, she included a structured list of the reasons why family councils are important. She also underscored the fact that family council meetings should not just be viewed as a forum to voice concerns – they also provide opportunities for families to meet one another and provide support in a social setting. She also explained that those attending could use the space to talk about anything they wanted to discuss.

Often, no one shows up. Sometimes one family member drops by. But on the evening of Jan. 15, three family members attended the most recent council meeting, a success Faux chalks up to changing the theme of her invitation, which Faux says was a “huge” success.

“I think that by giving that little open agenda it helped raise interest,” she tells The OMNIway, noting attendees were attentive and taking notes. “It turned into more of a support group. They talked about having more fire drills, a recent ministry visit and how to have better visits with residents who have dementia.”

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care requires Ontario long-term care homes to hold spaces on a regular basis for family councils to meet. While homes comply with this requirement, many find that family members do not show up.

The Campbellford long-term care home’s next family council meeting is in May. What’s giving her the most hope about the future of the home’s family council is the fact that those attending the latest meeting have committed to recruiting one more family each, Faux says.

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