West Lake Terrace forms new ‘small but mighty’ family council

New council seeks to create a partnership among family members, residents and staff

Life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Janie Denard made creating a family council at West Lake Terrace a goal for 2017. Thanks to her persistence, a group of family members has been formed to meet on a monthly basis.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care requires all long-term care homes in Ontario to offer space every month for family council meetings. While West Lake Terrace has always held space for meetings, getting families to form a council can sometimes be challenging, Janie says.

So, at the beginning of the year, Janie sent out a flier to family members of residents at the Prince Edward County long-term care home, asking them to attend a meeting Feb. 16. A group of four family members attended the meeting, and now they’re looking at ways to strengthen the new family council.

“They are a small but mighty group,” Janie says. “They are very keen and eager to get going.”

The group wants to make the new family council a partnership between family members, the home’s residents’ council and West Lake Terrace staff. By working together, the group feels it will garner the best results to enhance programming and quality of life for residents, Janie says.

Families involved with the new council are determined to make it work, and they’re even reaching out to another OMNI Health Care long-term care home, Burnbrae Gardens, for ideas.

Janie has reached out to that home’s administrator and LEC, April Faux, to set up a conference call to connect West Lake Terrace families with Burnbrae Gardens families, so the West Lake folks have someone to consult with if they’re having any challenges.

Janie says the best long-term result she hopes to see is a strong relationship between West Lake Terrace staff, families and residents, with fluid lines of communication to make sure staff members are always on top of any questions or concerns people have.

“It’s a learning process for myself as well,” Janie says. “The family members are very keen. We have a second meeting set up for April 3, so we’re hoping to gain some more interest from there.”

While Janie has succeeded in her goal of forming a family council at West Lake Terrace, she says she’s flattered by the fact that the family members felt staff members were doing such a good job there was no need to form a council.

“A lot of (their) comments were like, ‘You’ve probably never had the need for a family council at West Lake Terrace, because you’re doing such a wonderful job,” Janie says.

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