When an elderly family member needs full-time care, the best option may be a care center dedicated to providing an environment where residents can get the care they require. Most facilities provide an acceptable level of care, and residents often thrive. However, there are situations where residents do not appear to receive the level of care required. When issues develop, eldercare experts are often needed to assist in resolving those problems. Life Care Planning Law Firms Association (LCPLFA) members routinely work with clients as they go through the various stages of resolving nursing home disputes. There are several steps family members can take during the process.
Discuss the issues with staff members.
Before contemplating any other actions, discuss the problem with the care center staff members. In many cases, minor issues are more a difference of opinion or perception rather than insurmountable problems. In those cases, disputes are generally resolved quickly and easily. If first level care providers are not receptive, talk to a supervisor. If that does not help, take the next step.
Contact an ombudsman.
Generally, states have some sort of ombudsman program that deals with long-term care issues. Ombudsmen are charged with protecting the rights of residents and will work with families experiencing difficulties with the services provided. Care centers rely on their reputations to keep residents and encourage new residents to enter their programs, making it beneficial for them to cooperate with the ombudsman in the area. However, there are times when this step does not provide the care modifications needed.
Consult the state licensing agency or a geriatric care manager.
Either of these options puts additional pressure on the care facility, and even a reticent care provider will normally understand the potential ramifications of involving these entities. Each level of the complaint ladder makes it more difficult for care providers to ignore the situation. At this point, most facilities will make sincere efforts to address any care issues.
Hire legal representation.
When other steps fail, the only real recourse may be to engage an attorney familiar with eldercare issues. The downside of this option is that it often means a situation has deteriorated to a point where it cannot be amicably resolved. Relationships can be strained, and even if the resident does receive proper care, it may be uncomfortable for them to remain at the facility.
Move to a different facility.
Obviously, this is the last resort. However, when the well-being of a resident is at stake, a move may be necessary. When there are not other similar facilities in the area, it can create other issues for the family, including financial difficulties and problems traveling to visit the resident if alternative facilities are some distance away.
Resolving a dispute with a nursing home routinely requires the advice of an eldercare law expert. Members of LCPLFA have the expertise and resources to assist families in need. Contact an attorney member for more information when the health of a family member is at risk.