What do I do if I am concerned about the care that my loved one is getting in a nursing home or other long-term-care facility?
If you suspect your loved one is not getting proper care there are a variety of important steps you can take. Many of these steps are further outlined in our book How to Keep Your Loved Ones Safe in a Wisconsin Nursing Home. In brief, you should consider taking the following steps:
- Go directly to the director of nursing and to the facility administrator, and let them know about your concerns. Assume they are not aware there’s an issue. You may be the first to bring the problem to their attention. Follow up with the same people regularly. Document who you talk to and when.
- Monitor the situation after you’ve reported it. Look for changes that improve or worsen the problem. If there is no improvement, consult with a medical professional who works with your loved one and ask for assistance. If applicable, call your local ombudsman’s office (which investigates complaints against government institutions). If it’s a serious concern, consider filing a complaint with the State of Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services—Division of Quality Assurance.
- If the issue isn’t resolved after a reasonable amount of time, consult with a medical professional and discuss transferring your loved one to another facility. Involve family members close to the individual at risk. You’ll need to weigh the benefits of relocating your loved one to a safer environment against the physical and emotional costs of moving an elderly or frail loved one. this is a potentially life-saving decision that needs to be made by family members and medical professionals.