Being your parent’s nursing home advocate
When an elderly person relocates to a nursing facility, he or she needs an advocate to help make the transition as smooth as possible. If this responsibility falls on your shoulders, there are many things you should be prepared for. For one, prior to the move, it’s vital to research and visit several facilities in your area so you can choose the best option for your loved one. Once your parent is settled in, be sure to get know the staff and make them aware that you’re serving as the advocate.
Still, as the AARP notes in a recent article, problems can arise even if you’ve done your research. That’s why it’s important to know the signs of mistreatment.
Here’s a quick checklist of what to look for (via AARP):
- Stiffening muscles
- Physical restraints
- Chemical restraints (such as drugs)
What to do if you suspect abuse
If the incident is serious, immediately call an elder abuse hotline, the police or the state department of aging. If the quality of treatment is your main concern, the AARP suggests trying the following:
Talk to the caretaker whom you suspect is involved. Don’t be accusatory, rather be friendly and respectful of their perspective. Make it your goal to find a solution together.
Attend the next meeting when staff and/or families of the clients are invited to address any concerns.
Speak with a supervisor if you feel your issues are not being adequately addressed. Be as detailed as possible with times, dates and other information. Be sure to let the supervisor know of any of your other concerns, such as your complaint resulting in retaliation against your parent.
File a written complaint with the facility if you can’t get through to the staff. You can expect a written response as well, as nursing homes are required to follow a formal grievance process.
If you’re still not getting results you like, contact the long-term care ombudsman in your area via your state agency on aging and/or theÂ National Long Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. You can also file aÂ complaint with the state survey agency that licenses nursing homes, the AARP notes, often overseen by the stateâ€™s department of health.
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