Nursing home challenges
- Anytime that you place a loved
one in the care of others, there is always room for disagreement.
Some disagreements are not much more than a difference in
opinion or a misunderstanding, others are relatively severe and
cause for demanding immediate action and turning to authorities
for resolution. No
matter how sensitive and caring the staff of a nursing home,
nursing home staff and the senior or the senior's family can
develop a misunderstanding or a disagreement.
Regardless of the cause of the
disagreement, none seems trivial when a family member is involved
and the irritations can mount due to the fact that the family
member has to deal with it every day.
Examples of such irritations can range from disrespect, to
not honoring agreements, outright abuse.
Few assisted living centers will live up to everybodyís
Just how you go about resolving
these disagreements will vary depending upon the severity of the
problem and the personalities involved.
There are however, steps that should be taken in resolving
any dispute with legal intervention being reserved for the most
severe circumstances or when there are no other alternatives
intervention often spells the end of resolving any dispute by any
other means and often means that there will be no chance that both
parties will be happy with any future living arrangements.
When significant problems
arise, itís often best to involve a geriatric care manager (GCM).
A GCM will act as independent expert who can evaluate the
conditions and disagreements in light of state and Federal laws,
industry norms, and the specific needs of the senior.
The GCM can also often act as a mediator to talk to the
administrator of the assisted living center in terms that they
understand, with less emotion because they are not personally
know that the opinion of a GCM is important as an independent
person, should the case ever have to be resolved in court.
In short, assisted living center administrators often
attempt to work with a GCM when they would not with an irate
As mentioned above, there are
various steps to take to resolve all differences.
These steps are not only important in trying to resolve
differences quickly and without personality clashes, they will
help deliver your case in the event that you have to go to court.
Be sure to always take very detailed notes on any contact
that you have including the outcome of each and every contact.
Include the date, name of the person that you talked to,
the topic discussed, the outcome, and the specifics and
descriptions of the care received by your family member.
to the on-duty, everyday staff. Let them know the nature of
your concern and how you would like it resolved.
In some cases, the staff member may not have understood
the nature of the problem or the extent to which it matters to
In other cases, they may also have been concerned about the
issue but have lacked the resolve or ammunition to go to their
superiors to correct the problem. At this point, you are looking to get someone on your
side so ask for their assistance rather than becoming
to the nursing chief or an assisted living center
administrator. Explain the problem fully and ask for their
assistance. Again, you are looking for this personís assistance so
expect that they will resolve the issue.
The administrator may be unaware of your concern or it may
involve an employee problem that they were unaware of. Administrators are charged with business requisites such
as not losing clients.
They are often quite happy that you chose to come to them
because if an issue exists, it may exist elsewhere and they
are afforded the opportunity to nip the issue before losing
the ombudsperson assigned to the nursing home. He or she
should be able to intervene and get a reasonable result.
Contact information for the Ombudsman Program in your state
can be found at: Ombudsmans
the problem constitutes a violation of the resident rights,
report it to the state licensing agency. The facility will
usually respond quickly to this kind of pressure because they
could face an extensive investigation and/or loss of their
license. A lost
license means they are out of business.
a GCM to do a full investigation and mediate on your behalf.
Again, the care center will generally listen to this person
more than they will an irate family member.
They know that this person is an expert and the
situation has become quite serious.
a lawyer. This is about the last alternative and will probably
mean that all other methods of resolving the dispute have come
to an end. Once
an attorney is hired, most care centers will avoid dealing
with you directly and therefore, the costs go up.
At this point, the care center will probably do just about
anything they can to avoid any contracts they have and you may
be stuck with the last alternative.
- Move your
family member to another location.
Though this can be difficult and very costly, it may
still be your only option.