Nursing home complaints are a dicey issue. You want your elder family members to get the treatment and care that they deserve while staying on the good side of the nursing home staff and management. After all, your loved one’s are in their hands so it’s best to maintain as amicable of a relationship as possible.
But, if ever the situation where your loved one starts mentioning neglect, abuse or mistreatment, stay calm. As much as you’ll be inclined to go to bat for your elder family member and make a formal complaint, make sure you get the facts. In the past, falsely accusing staff and management of neglect, theft or abuse has led to some very costly defamation lawsuits and families have had to pay dearly.
Before you formally file a report against an individual or group get organized and get facts. To do this, follow these three simple yet effective steps and help yourself in this troublesome time.
1. Do Some Investigating Yourself
Go to the nursing home and spend some time with your family member. You’re liable to get the staff on their best behavior but if your problem is non-personnel related, you could do some digging to get to the root of the complaint.
If the complaint is regarding sub-standard food quality, ample some of the fare. A first hand taste will give you the proper insight on the accommodations.
Should the issue of theft come about, go to your elder family member’s room and check for the items in question. Doing a search of the areas around the nursing home most frequented by your family member is advisable as well. Money and personal belongings can easily be misplaced, left hidden underneath blankets or clothes.
If there is conflict between your family member and another nursing home patient, you can serve as an intermediary and intervene in the situation.
2. Get Involved At The Nursing Home
Volunteering your time is a great way to keep the peace and make sure everything is going as needed. By devoting small bits of time to the nursing home you not only make your elder family member happy with your presence, you also get to understand the people and the processes of the nursing home more intimately. It also provides a great avenue for you to bridge the gap with the management and staff, which opens up clear channels for dialogue.
Getting involved also allows you to keep track of policy changes and important events happening at the nursing home. There is usually a quarterly or annual meeting for family members of the nursing home patients that you should take advantage of. These meetings serve as great venues for you to raise concerns and ask the staff important questions.
3. Observe and Report
There are some issues that may or cannot be communicated effective by the oldest of patients. By close observations, you will be able to spot organizational wrongdoing. Check your family member for bedsores, make sure their medications are properly administered and carefully investigate the more severe offenses like verbal, physical and sexual harassment.
If substantial evidence, hard or anecdotal, is found report it to the nursing home administration. Once this is done, find your local nursing home ombudsman. An ombudsman is a publicly appointed official tasked with investigating individuals’ complaints against maladministration of nursing homes.
Take the time to survey the nursing home you’re helping to choose for your parent or loved one. And don’t be afraid to investigate any sign of maltreatment.
Let us help you choose the right nursing home for your loved one. If you need any help , contact the legal offices of Christina Lesher at (713)529-5900. We can listen to any concern you have to explore ways that we can help through a simple consultation.