Three ways residents’ councils help provide support in long-term care homes
Elouise Cunningham is the president of Extendicare Hillcrest’s Residents’ Council, in Alberta. She says residents’ councils help give residents an even stronger voice in their long-term care homes.
“All of the residents feel it’s their home and want to be able to express their feelings, concerns, and thoughts about living in a long-term care home,” says Elouise, who has been the home’s president for five years.
Residents’ Councils at Extendicare homes are driven by a group of residents who meet on a regular basis to help make positive changes to improve the quality of care at their respective homes.
At Extendicare Laurier Manor in Ontario, the home leadership team is always looking to strengthen engagement with their own Residents’ Council. Recently, the home implemented resident representatives for each floor, as opposed to a single council chairperson for all floors.
Bernadette Fournier is a floor representative for Laurier Manor’s Residents’ Council. She explains the importance of residents’ voices in enhancing the quality of care and strengthening relationships with residents and the home’s care team.
“I feel that it's important for all residents to feel like they're being heard. Residents’ Council meetings can help with this. Everyone has unique needs,” she says. “Having these meetings also helps to strengthen trust among residents and team members.”
On a more national level, Extendicare’s Resident Experience Action Council for Homes, also known as REACH, brings together residents and family volunteers who provide their insight and experiences to help enhance policies, programs, and projects at all Extendicare homes. REACH helps to support Extendicare’s Improving Care Plan, which aims to enhance care at Extendicare homes.
“REACH is important because it allows for action in Extendicare’s long-term care homes on a national level,” says Elouise, who is also involved with REACH.
Here are the top three ways Residents’ Councils help support seniors who live in long-term care:
1. Empowering residents: Residents have a strong voice in their long-term care homes. Sharing their lived experiences, concerns, and suggestions can help improve the quality of care in their communities.
2. Enhancing quality of care: Residents play a strong role in helping to make improvements in their long-term care homes. Residents’ Councils collaborate with residents and teams in the long-term care home to help address questions or concerns aimed at enhancing the quality of their care and home.
3. Supporting inclusivity: Every resident is unique. Residents come from a range of backgrounds and bring a variety of experiences to their home communities. Residents’ Councils can bring residents together to help them feel included and more comfortable sharing thoughts and ideas, in addition to engaging and involving residents in activities happening in their long-term care.
Are you a resident interested in learning more about your home’s Residents’ Council? Reach out to your home’s administrator, who can share more details.