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Letter: Visitors must document nursing home concerns

Visitors must document nursing home concerns

A recent letter writer was frustrated with attempts to improve the care of her loved one living in a nursing home. As a former nursing home administrator, I can tell you that this is not insoluble. There are a number of things that can be done when there are concerns. The single most important is documentation of every interaction with the staff. Purchase a small, pocket-size notebook and whenever there’s a need to ask a staff member to do something for your loved one or another resident you believe is being mistreated, take the notebook out while you’re talking with that person and record the date, time and name and position of the person you’re speaking with. Also note what your request was and the response. If that individual is not helpful immediately, ask to speak with his supervisor and continue to document as with the first person. Again, if that person isn’t helpful, repeat the request to speak to that person’s supervisor. Hopefully you will get a positive response before you get to the point of meeting with the nursing home administrator.

If you eventually do need to meet with the administrator, state that if this concern continues, you will exercise your right to report the matter to the State Department of Health hotline at 1-888-201-4563, or complete a Nursing Home Complaint Form available online at Be certain to mention that you have maintained a notebook containing dates, times and the names of the individuals you have talked with trying to correct the matter you’re reporting.

Thomas H. Reinagel