While residents and families are not required to organize a resident or family group in their facility, the F 565 regulation does stipulate the obligations of the facility when residents/families choose to exercise this right. F565 states “The resident has a right to organize and participate in resident groups in the facililty”. This can be informal groups, such as a bridge club or men’s group, or a more formal group as with the resident council. In this week’s blog, we review the regulatory requirements for F565 compliance and discuss common issues that may lead to deficiencies…

Regulatory Requirements

The facility’s obligation as outlined in this regulation is to “provide a resident or family group, if one exists, with private space; and take reasonable steps, with the approval of the group, to make residents and family members aware of upcoming meetings in a timely manner”. The regulation goes on to define that “staff, visitors, or other guests may attend resident group or family group meetings only at the respective group’s invitation”. Many facility staff are not aware that they cannot just show up at a resident or family group meeting to provide education or discuss items like facility events or policy changes unless they are specifically invited by the group. The facility must also “provide a designated staff person who is approved by the resident or family group and the facility and who is responsible for providing assistance and responding to written requests that result from group meetings”. This does not mean the designated staff person will necessarily attend every group meeting. The regulation clarifies that “the designated staff person responsible for assistance and liaison between the group and the facility’s administration and any other staff members may attend the meeting only if invited by the resident or family group. The resident or family group may meet without staff present.” Also, each group should have the freedom to determine how often they would like to meet.

The facility has other specified obligations related to resident or family groups. F 565 states “the facility must consider the views of a resident or family group and act promptly upon the grievances and recommendations of such groups concerning issues of resident care and life in the facility.

(A) The facility must be able to demonstrate their response and rationale for such response.

(B) This should not be construed to mean that the facility must implement as recommended every request of the resident or family group.”

It is clear that the designated staff person must take all group concerns, grievances and recommendations seriously, and address the facility response in a timely and thoughtful manner. They must be ready to explain the decision made by the facility, whether it be in agreement with the group or not, and must document the facility’s response and rationale.

Survey Readiness

During the survey process, surveyors will determine if the facility is in compliance with the requirements of the F 565 regulation. Examples of non-compliance that may result in a deficiency include:

      • Facility staff impede or prevent residents or family members ability to meet or organize a resident or family group;
      • Resident and/or families were not always informed in advance of upcoming meetings.
      • Facility staff impede with meetings and/or operations of family or resident council by mandating that they have a staff person in the room during meetings or assigning a staff person to liaise with the council that is not agreeable to the council;
      • Private meeting space for these groups is not provided;
      • The views, grievances or recommendations from these groups have not been considered or acted upon by facility staff;
      • Facility staff does not provide these groups with responses, actions, and rationale taken regarding their concerns;
      • Facility staff are not able to demonstrate their response and rationale to grievances;
      • Facility staff prevent family members or representatives from meeting with those of another resident.


Many facilities have found that actively supporting the resident and family groups formed within their facility can contribute to a thriving community where concerns and ideas are resolved and shared collaboratively. With this as the shared goal, facilities can have the added benefit of regulatory compliance.

Find more ideas for successful activities programming in the 4 part on-demand webinar series, Activities that Work.


Janine Lehman, RN, RAC-CT, CLNC
Director of Legal Nurse Consulting

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