Monitoring the Care of a Loved One

 

As much as possible use the care planning process to address problems with resident care. This is the plan the facility will develop for organizing their resources to meet the resident's care needs. Nursing facilities will develop formal care plans and residents and their families must be included in the planning process. Personal Care facilities may have a less formal process for planning.

Attend Care plan meetings. Ask questions and make suggestions. The goal should be to help the resident attain and maintain their highest practicable physical, mental, and psycho-social well-being.

Find out who to talk to if changes in the care plan are needed, and find out who to talk to if there are problems with the care being provided. Ask for a copy of the new care plan so that you can examine each aspect thoughtfully. Make sure that the direct care staff understand the care paln goals. Observe to see if the plan is being fully implemented.

Address problems when they first occur. Don't wait until your discontent builds to the boiling point. It is important to report your problem to the right person. For instance, telling the nurse aide about food problems will probably not result in change. Food issues should be discussed with the kitchen supervisor or the dietician. Learn who is in charge of nursing, housekeeping, social services, therapy, etc.

Every facility must have a system for receiving and addressing complaints. Learn what the facilities complaint process is and use it.

Be prepared with facts. Point out specific instances, times, dates, or shifts and provide the names of the staff members involved. Don't accuse the facility or staff but rather describe your observations and explain how they fall short of your expectations.

Make it a habit to also comment on what the staff has done right. A spoonful of sugar will help the "medicine" of correction go down better.