We are officially in the midst of Residents’ Rights Month and there is a lot of work we can all do to improve care across the country. As the host of Residents’ Rights Month, the National Consumer Voice has some amazing resources that everyone should become familiar with through the month of October. Here are great tips and some advice when it comes to advocacy and supporting quality care.
Pay Attention – This little tip makes its way into almost all of our advocacy tips. When it comes to your loved ones and strangers living in nursing facilities, paying attention can go a long way. It can mean the difference between someone being ignored and someone having all their needs met. Paying attention can alert you to neglect, insufficient care, wrong medications, unusual changes in behavior, and so much more. It is so vital to pay attention so that you can speak up in a timely manner.
“Note changes and try to determine if they are due to any deficiencies in the care provided. Monitor whether staff are responsive to resident requests for assistance and are kind, patient, and respectful in their provision of care.”
Be Assertive – Not everyone is “outgoing” but when it comes to a person’s care—especially because their care can be a life or death scenario—we must all learn to be assertive. Take the time to talk to staff. Ask who the proper person to talk to is, leave messages if needed, bring the issue up time and again until it is resolved. Don’t be afraid to be sure the staff, the nursing home, and anyone else involved is taking the problem as seriously as you are.
“Clearly state your specific concern and the outcome you would like to see. Remember that, as consumers, you or your loved one should expect high quality services, and acting respectfully will avoid creating ill will.”
Seek Outside Help – If needed, report the problem to the authorities. Seek out the help of ombudsmen, or state survey agency. If the problem is severe enough and not being addressed, if your concerns are being ignored, or if actions are not being taken, you may need to reach outside the nursing home staff and administration in order to ensure proper care for your loved one.
“Report complaints and care problems to the State or Local Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program or the state survey agency, so that they can investigate.”
Create a Circle of Support – If you are advocating for your own care, it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are people on your side and willing to help and support you as you navigate the nursing care industry.
“Develop a group of family members, friends and other people you trust who can assist in advocating for the care you want.”
Ask Questions – Do not be afraid to ask questions about your own care plan, medications, and preferences. Whether you are advocating for yourself or a loved one, do not let the care facility intimidate you into letting them choose for you. You are in charge of your own life, and have a right to ask questions regarding any aspect of your care and daily schedule.
“Ask a question if something is unclear.”
Know Who To Go To – If there is a problem and staff is not listening to your concerns, you should feel free to contact someone else. Know who you should report problems to and who to contact for help. Find your local Ombudsman, or know the higher ups at the nursing facility who can intervene.
“Connect with the resident or family council if there is one. The council help answer questions or communicate your concern to facility administration.”
As residents and family members, we have a duty to advocate on behalf of ourselves or those unable to speak up on their own. Residents’ Rights Month, gives us a great opportunity to learn how we can be active advocates for quality care.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of neglect or abuse, call Gharibian Law (877-460-1187) today for a FREE consultation and the best legal representation.