Meanings Attributed to Family Councils and Related Concepts by Immigrant Residents of Long-term Care and their Family Carers

Immigrant older adults are increasingly moving into residential long-term care (RLTC) homes. Amongst visible minority immigrants in British Columbia, this is perhaps most true of those of
Chinese origins, who account for the largest proportion of immigrants to the province and make up its highest proportion of visible minority older adults. Despite the diversity of residents’
ethnocultural and linguistic backgrounds, however, the vast majority of RLTC homes were designed and continue to be run in accordance with Anglocentric norms and values. In British Columbia, the predominant language of care delivery in all but a handful of RLTC homes is English. If they are lucky, immigrant older adults in care—especially those without English—have family members who can bridge the linguistic divide and advocate for their needs.

This study explores the extent to which family members who regularly visit Cantonese-speaking residents in two RLTC facilities in British Columbia understand and utilize Family Councils, which
have been established to provide family members with a collective voice. Studies with ‘mainstream’ residents show that family participation in Family Councils increases family inclusion in decisionmaking that is reflected in improvements in the quality of care of the residents as well as their quality of life. Accordingly, our study also sought to explicate how the residents and family carers interviewed perceived these two indicators of quality, and how these perceptions corresponded with their views on Family Councils.