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A Resident Council is an important part of any long term living community.
Resident Council Meetings empower residents to voice their concerns, exercise their rights, and play a part in the decision-making process within their own home. Meetings may be monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly, depending on the wishes of council members.
How to Organize a Resident Council Meeting
- Decide on the date, time and agenda for the meeting.
- Place the meeting agenda on a clipboard in the recreation area where leisure staff from all shifts can write down concerns or requests brought up by residents.
- The meeting should be well attended. Use invitations, posters, or a 'Stop Press' notice in the monthly newsletter to encourage residents to participate.
- The setting of the meeting is important; there should be no noise or passers-by. The room should be airy and well-illuminated.
- If the Manager of the facility cannot attend meetings, choose a clinical staff member to represent management and clinical staff.
- Elect a resident's relative to represent families and friends.
- Time should be limited. If you need to, separate agenda items into categories e.g. Meals issues, Social Outings issues, General Complaints, New Leisure/Recreation requests, and others.
- Choose a leader who is calm, understands the group dynamics and can mediate between all parties.
- Offer refreshments at the end of the meeting to enable participants to talk and socialize.
Take Minutes of Each Meeting
Taking the minutes of a meeting is a very important role. The person chosen should not have other responsibilities; such as leading the meeting.
A minute taker should be able to:
- Express information clearly
- Be attentive to details
- Be neutral
- Be prepared; look at the agenda before the meeting and if needed, discuss with leader
If the minute-taker is new to the role, they may ask a colleague to take notes as well to compare with at the end of the meeting. This will ensure they do not miss any important agreements and actions resulting from the meeting.
A sample template for taking minutes is included in this article.
15 Ways to Run a Successful Resident Council Meeting Meeting
Good meetings leave you energized and with a feeling of accomplishment.
How long should resident meetings last? Usually, no more than one hour unless there are very difficult items to be discussed.
Here are a few tips for the leader to consider:
- Decide how many minutes to spend on each category and stick to it.
- Make sure that participants who added to the agenda are present (If possible).
- Sequence the agenda from difficult categories to easy ones.
- Prepare the names of the people who will put forward the discussion for each category.
- Insist that everybody turns off their mobile phones.
- Focus on the objectives of the meeting and involve participants as much as possible.
- Summarize each item before proceeding to the next category: who is agreeing and/or taking charge of what? When should action points be resolved?
- Praise participants who contribute with positive remarks: 'That's a good question' - 'Great idea'.
- Make sure participants are focused and happy; schedule a 10 minutes break if needed.
- If one person is dominating the meeting, the leader should ask other people for their opinions.
- Assign tasks generated by the meeting and review tasks at the end of meeting (write down the names of individuals who agreed to perform tasks).
- Trivial issues may be resolved at another time with a memo or among dissenting parties.
- At the end of the meeting, inform participants where and when they can read the minutes and the date and time of the next meeting.
- Make sure actions generated by the meeting are followed-up on and resolved.
- End on time!
Effective meetings give value to the ideas and wishes of residents. They promote the creativity of the group and strengthen friendships.
Aspire to develop a reputation as an excellent meeting leader!