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Help with the New Family Council Regulations

In December 2004 new legislation was past in Massachusetts regarding Family Councils (Mass. General Laws Sec.155 of H. 4850) . Under the new Regulation, a nursing facility must honor the request of family members in the formulation of a family council. Below you will find a policy and procedure and two letters for use in your facilities practices. One letter is for in-house family members and the other is for inclusion in your sites admission packets. The material below is provided in draft form and may be used as a guide as your facility responds to the new legislation.

Family Council Policy and Procedure:

Policy: Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws (Sec. 155 of H. 4850, Conference Report on the FY05 State Budget), this Facility will allow the formation of a Family Council, and upon request, allow the family to meet in a common area of the Facility.


Upon a resident's admission, this facility will alert family members of their right to form a Family Council.

If a Family Council already exists, the Admissions representative will notify the resident's family members of the time, place, and date of the meeting, or will give the name of the Family Council contact person.

This facility may coordinate a mailing to all family members to inform them of their right to create a Family Council.

This facility will not deny the Family Council the opportunity to accept organizational help, and will not limit the rights of the residents, family members, or Family Council members to meet independently with outside persons.

This facility will not interfere with the Family Council's receipt of outside correspondence addressed to it, and must ensure that the correspondence is delivered unopened to the governing body of, or contact person for, the Council.

Staff or visitors may attend family council meetings only if invited by the council.

The facility shall provide a staff member to assist families upon request of the council, and respond to written requests from the family council.

This facility shall consider the views and shall act upon the family council's grievances and recommendations concerning proposed policy and operational decisions that affect resident care and quality of life.

The facility shall respond in writing within five working days to the family council's written requests or concerns.

When a family council exists, the facility must include notice of the family council to resident's family members in at least a quarterly mailing. The notice shall include the time, place, and date of meeting, and the family council contact person.

This facility will in no way willfully interfere with the formation, maintenance or promotion of a family council.

The facility representatives who will promote and lend assistance to the Family Council as needed, will be the Administrator and Department of Social Services.

For more information about Family Councils click here.


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