Advocate for Your Loved One
How Do I Advocate for My Loved One?
At the start of your loved one’s stay, ensure you learn who is the director of nursing, who are the nurse managers, who are the certified nursing assistants, etc. Also, pay attention to staff changes. In short, like watching sports on TV, it’s always good to know who the “players” are at the nursing home. And once you know who these staff are, you will know whom to talk with if you have concerns.
Ask questions. Sometimes, staff are not trained to or inclined to share all the information you want or need to understand your loved one’s care. Feel free to ask as many questions as necessary to learn what you need to know.
Visit the nursing homes on different days, at different times. Sometimes quality care can change based on the staff on-duty. Don’t always call, in advance, and tell the staff you will arrive at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. Sometimes, show up unannounced and see how things are. In the end, your loved ones deserves great care 24-hours-per-day, and seeing the care your loved one receives on different days, at different times, will help you to get the “full picture.”
When you are visiting your loved one, try and notice the other residents and what else is happening on the floor/unit your loved one is on. This will give you insight as to how staff are interacting with residents without visitors, will help you identify potential problems your loved one could face and will help you note potential helpful interactions that you think would be good for your loved one.
If you have concerns that are not adequately addressed by the staff directly interacting with your loved one, go directly to the director of nursing, the social worker or anyone else at a more senior level who might be able to help. You have every right, and the responsibility, to speak to anyone and everyone that impacts your loved one’s care.
Additional advocacy ideas are provided throughout our website.