Monday, December 23, 2013

Ask Linda: "How can I make sure my father isn't neglected in his nursing facility?"

Q. My father's condition has worsened due to neglect in the nursing facility where he has been for two months. What steps can I take?

A: Here are proactive ways to stay on top of things:
  1. Request a private meeting with these key people responsible for resident’s care needs getting met: the director of nursing (DON), assistant director of nursing (ADON), nurse managers (NM), and dietician.
  2. Request copies of your dad’s nursing documentation up to now and a copy of these policies: Monitoring/recording meal, fluid and snack intake every shift; assessing and maintaining intake and output per 24 hours; monitoring urine output and bowel movements or the lack thereof; reporting normal and abnormal results.
  3. Request a meeting with the DON to explain forms until you understand them.
  4. Have the dietician explain how food and fluid requirements are determined, why they are recorded on resident’s care plans, and how often every resident’s medical record should be updated.
  5. Ask who’s accountable each shift for ensuring your dad’s intake/output is recorded and for making sure abnormal findings get reported to avoid hospitalizations and complications.
  6. Be proactive, not reactive. Ask to review the chart if you find errors or concerns. Apprise the nurse manager. If no timely resolution is forthcoming, meet with the administrator.
  7. Make no apology for staying on top of a loved one’s care.
If the DON, dietician or nurse manager leaves their position, repeat step one so everyone is on the same page again.

If care doesn’t improve, you may need to move him.

–Linda Hitt Kempf, RN, LNHA

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