Virginia Law: Family Council

Virginia Law: Family Council

Virginia Law: Family Resident Council

In 2018, Virginia added regulation 22VAC40-73-830 under Standards for Licensed Assisted Living Facilities that established a legally recognized “Resident Council”. For those in memory care, a Resident Council becomes, by proxy, a council of family members or legal guardians.

The law provides additional regulation for “special care units”, which includes people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.  Since Arden Courts is a special care unit (Memory Care), the families (or guardians) may create a Council on the Residents’ behalf.

Typically, assisted living facility Residents who do not have cognitive impairment can advocate for themselves and express their own concerns regarding conditions and care at their assisted living facility. Memory Care Residents cannot communicate their needs without assistance from family or other guardian advocates.

We call this the Family Council.

Advocacy: The Council is a collective voice that addresses the rights, interests, needs, grievances, and other concerns of Residents. It suggests improvements and works with facility management to enhance the quality of care and living conditions.

Communication: Resident/Family Councils can facilitate communication between Residents, staff, and facility management, allowing for better understanding and resolution of issues.

Quality of Life: Family-Resident Councils aim to improve the living experience for all Residents by addressing issues related to activities, services, and overall quality of life within the facility. It may suggest changes or additions to activities, care practices, and other aspects of daily life.

Education: Resident/Family Councils can provide educational resources and information to families about their rights, facility policies, and available services. This helps Residents & families make informed decisions about their care and living arrangements.

Policy and Procedure Review: The Council may review facility policies and procedures and provide feedback or recommendations for improvement.

Empowerment: Resident/Family Councils empower individuals in assisted living facilities by involving them in decision-making, to provide a sense of control and ownership over their living environment.

Below is the exact language of the Virginia law regarding the Resident Council.
A complete review of laws for Virginia Assisted Living facilities can be found here:   Regulations for Assisted Living Facilities

The Virginia Department of Social Services regulates assisted living special care units.

22VAC40-73-830. Resident Councils.

A. The facility shall permit and encourage the formation of a Resident/Family Council by Residents and shall assist the Residents in its establishment.

B. The purposes of the Resident Council shall be to:

  1. Work with the administration in improving the quality of life for all Residents;
  2. Discuss the services offered by the facility and make recommendations for resolution of identified problems or concerns; and
  3. Perform other functions as determined by the Council.

C. The Resident Council shall be composed of Residents of the facility and the Council may extend membership to family members, advocates, friends, and others. Residents shall be encouraged but shall not be compelled to attend meetings.

D. The facility shall assist Residents in maintaining the Resident/Family Council, including:

  1. Scheduling regular meetings;
  2. Providing space for meetings;
  3. Posting notice for meetings;
  4. Providing assistance in attending meetings for those Residents who request it; and
  5. Preparing written reports of meetings as requested by the Council for dissemination to all Residents.

E. The facility shall provide a written response to the Council prior to the next meeting regarding any recommendations made by the Council for resolution of problems or concerns.

F. In order to promote a free exchange of ideas, at least part of each meeting shall be allowed to be conducted without the presence of any facility personnel.

G. If there is no Council, the facility shall annually remind Residents that they may establish a Resident/Family Council and that the facility would assist in its formation and maintenance. The general purpose of the Council shall also be explained at this time.

Resident Rights in Virginia

The rights and responsibilities of Assisted Living residents are governed by state regulations and are designed to protect the well-being and dignity of residents.

Virginia Law: Regulations for Assisted Living Facilities

In Virginia, “Memory Care” is considered “Assisted Living”, and falls under the laws that govern Assisted Living facilities.

Virginia Standards for Licensed Assisted Living Facilities

This comprehensive document is the major guide used by facilities in Virginia for standards of care. (Last amended by the State Board of Social Services in August, 2021.)