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BMC Health Serv Res. 2011 Sep 12;11:215. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-11-215.

Legal rights of client councils and their role in policy of long-term care organisations in the Netherlands.

Author information

  • 1Tranzo, Academic Research Centre for Health and Social Care, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Tilburg University, PO Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands. m.zuidgeest@uvt.nl

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Legislation demands the establishment of client councils in Dutch nursing homes and residential care facilities. The members of those councils are residents or their representatives. Client councils have the right to participate in the strategic management of long-term care facilities. More specifically, they need to be consulted regarding organisational issues and a right to consent on issues regarding daily living of residents, including CQ-index research. CQ-index research concerns a method that measures, analyses and report clients' experiences about the quality of care. Research questions were: 'Do client councils exercise their rights to be consulted and to give their consent?' and 'What is the role of client councils in the process of measuring clients' experiences with the CQ-index and what is their opinion about the CQ-index?'

METHODS:

Postal questionnaires were sent to members of 1,540 client councils of Dutch nursing homes and residential care facilities. The questionnaire focussed on background information and client councils' involvement in decision-making and strategic management.

RESULTS:

The response rate was 34% (n = 524). Most councils consisted of seven members (range: 5 to 12 members). One out of four members participating in the client councils were clients themselves. Although councils have a legal right to be consulted for organisational issues like finance, vision, annual report, and accommodation, less than half the councils (31-46%) reported that they exercised this right. The legal right to consent was perceived by 18 to 36% of the councils regarding client care issues like food and drink, complaints registration, respectful treatment, and activities. For CQ-index research, only 18% of the client councils perceived a right to consent. Their rights to choose an approved contractor -who performs CQ-index research- and indicating improvement priorities, were hardly used.

CONCLUSIONS:

Client councils play a rather passive role in determining the policy on quality of long-term care. Therefore, specific attention and actions are needed to create a more proactive attitude in councils towards exercising their rights, which are already supported by legislation.

PMID:
21910899
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3181203
Free PMC Article
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