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5 Effective Ways to Handle Common Problems and Complaints in Nursing Homes

As an adult child, caring for your elderly parents who can no longer look after themselves can be a challenge. You may find that juggling between their needs and your responsibilities can become unmanageable in the long run. Although this may be a difficult choice, you may need to think about sending your loved one to a nursing home or consider in-home care. All in all, you want your parents in an environment where they can thrive and enjoy a quality life.

Nursing homes provide care to millions of senior citizens in the United States. These facilities provide compassionate quality care from the professionals most of the time. However, family members or even residents may sometimes complain about the quality of care. Feel free to speak out if you have concerns about a specific incident or an ongoing situation. Read on to learn how to problem-solve in nursing homes to get results.

How to Handle Common Problems and Complaints in a Nursing Home

The nursing home industry is constantly faced with various challenges due to ever-changing regulations, staffing shortages, and declining profits. These may lead to negligence issues since the available staff is expected to perform complex treatments with limited resources.

While some actions may cause inconveniences but no harm to the overall health of patients, others may cause pain and even serious harm. Physical abuse and neglect are major causes of concern because they put your loved one in immediate danger of severe injury or death.

Here are practical steps to take if you have concerns about the quality of care in a nursing home.

Investigate Before You Complain to the Staff or Administration

There are various forms of complaints in nursing homes. While many are valid and need immediate action, some are personal views about the lack of quality care among residents and family members with straightforward solutions. Be sure to talk to primary caregivers and get details before complaining to the staff or administration. It might just be a misunderstanding with a simple explanation. Some common complaints include:

Roommate Conflicts

There is always a possibility of conflict when people share a room due to differences in personalities and interests. It is best to give the residents a period of adjustment to know each other if the facility lacks private rooms or if you cannot afford one. Also, many nursing homes allow room change if the conflict cannot be resolved.

Lost Items

Items are likely to get lost in shared spaces. They may not be necessarily stolen but can be misplaced. It is advisable to have an insurance cover on items that get easily lost, like eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dentures.

Food Issues

There is no doubt that home meals are better than nursing facility food. As people age, they tend to lose taste making it impossible to enjoy even good food. This may lead to malnutrition if left unchecked. You can ask the caregivers about the kinds of food allowed within the facility and bring some whenever you visit. Just ensure that the meals are within their special diet list.

Work To Establish Good Relationships with the Nursing Aides

The aides are the people who look after your loved ones. Build trust and friendship between them, your family, and other residents. Make an effort to know them as individuals and appreciate the excellent work they do. You can also help them understand your mother’s habits, preferences, and quirks. This allows the staff to take good care of your loved ones. For instance, they may know to whom the hearing aids they found in the bundled bedsheets belong.

Get Involved in the Nursing Home

Do you have any talent that you can share with the residents? Most times, there is nothing much for the elderly to do, leading to another common problem in nursing homes, boredom. You can volunteer your skills during regular events and become a familiar face in the community. The skills can be music, computer instruction, storytelling, or art. 

At times, all your parents need is to spend some quality time with their loved ones. Ask your family and friends to join in the fun and become part of the community. Your parents are more likely to participate in group activities, keeping them engaged. Also, become a regular visitor, show up any time of the day, and make yourself a welcome presence among staff and residents. It allows you to observe, note, and report serious lapses in care such as neglect of personal hygiene, weight loss, illness, or apparent deterioration.

Don’t Miss Important Meetings

Nursing homes have regular meetings, quarterly or yearly. You can ask the staff for the dates and times of such meetings and include them in your calendar. Take this opportunity to understand how things run in the facility and give suggestions where needed. Compliment the staff when they are doing well, and they will be more inclined to change when things go wrong

You can also ask questions and raise your concerns with the direct caregivers regarding your family member. Be sure to consider what the staff says since they spend more time than anyone with the residents. They may know your loved one needs more than you may like to admit.

Follow Chain of Command in Case of Serious Problems

It is a good idea to try solving things with the staff or organization first. You can talk to the individual in question or manager to put things right through an informal conversation. However, you should launch a formal complaint about serious issues such as verbal, physical, and sexual abuse to the nursing home administration, an ombudsman, and the department of health in your state.

Wrapping Up

Nursing homes provide 24/7 skilled nursing and supportive care to aging and disabled adults. While most residents and their families have a positive experience with nursing facilities, problems may sometimes arise. Raising concerns is crucial in protecting the rights of the elderly and improving the quality of nursing home services. Ensure to approach the issue with a mindset of problem-solving as opposed to blaming. And if all this doesn’t work, email sward@stonegatesl.com and someone on our corporate team will contact you.