Ensure Care and Be Involved: Nursing Home Advocacy

Over the course of 25 years of legal battles against nursing homes, one unfortunate reality has become crystal clear: nursing homes are areas of limited resources and some residents will not get the care they are entitled to. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the hard truth about understaffed nursing homes and why your active involvement as a family member is essential to ensure your loved one receives the care they deserve.

A caregiver assists an elderly man in a wheelchair near a bed in a brightly lit room.

In the majority of nursing homes, the facility is understaffed by its owners such that it is impossible to provide adequate care to all of the residents all of the time. The facility and its staff know this and hope that the individuals who don’t get the care they deserve a)don’t get hurt too seriously and b) if they do will have family members who may not realize the injury was from poor care. Simple common sense therefore tells us the resident who gets the care will be the one with a family that can “cause trouble”.

The Power of Your Presence

Your presence in the nursing home can make all the difference. By being there, visiting your loved one, and asking questions, you are not just a visitor but an advocate for their well-being. Many residents do not have the privilege of having family members who can visit regularly, but your involvement can tip the scales in your loved one’s favor. The sad reality is that staff often have to choose which residents to provide care to. They don’t want to make that choice but the time constraints of an understaffed facility demand it. When they make the choice of which resident to provide the care to they often think about their job security first. Which of the residents have a family member that might notice the lack of care? Which one visits? Which one takes notes? Which one knows my name? Which one knows my bosses’ name?

A healthcare worker in green scrubs holds a patient's hand, offering support in a comfortable setting.

Understanding the Staff’s Dilemma

Put yourself in the shoes of the nursing home staff. If they are faced with limited resources and time, they must make difficult decisions about where to allocate their attention and care. Picture this scenario: there are two residents, both in need of a diaper change, but only time to attend to one of them. One resident has a family that can visit at any time, while the other has not had a family member visit in weeks. Who do you think will be prioritized?

The Importance of Advocacy

Your role as an advocate goes beyond just visiting; it involves asking questions, staying informed, and making your presence felt. When the nursing home staff knows that someone is watching and advocating for their loved one, they are more likely to prioritize their care.

The harsh reality of understaffed nursing homes is undeniable. However, your involvement can be a game-changer for your loved one. By actively participating in their care and ensuring the staff understands that you are watching out for them, you can help ensure they receive the care they need and deserve. Your presence and advocacy can make all the difference in providing your loved one with the compassionate and diligent care they require during their time in the nursing home.