You Are the Expert On Your Loved One in a Nursing Home

When your loved one becomes a resident in a nursing home, it’s essential to recognize that you are not just a concerned family member; you are a vital part of the care plan team. This blog post explores the crucial role family members play in the care of nursing home residents and highlights the legal requirements for their involvement.

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The Family Member as an Expert

Who knows your loved one better than you do? You are the expert on your resident. Your role extends beyond emotional support; it includes providing essential information about your loved one to the nursing home staff. This information can range from their medical history and preferences to their daily routine and food preferences. By sharing this valuable knowledge, you contribute to creating a more personalized and effective care plan.

The Legal Requirement

Federal law mandates that residents and/or their representatives actively participate in the assessment and care planning process. This means that you have a legal right to be involved in discussions regarding your loved one’s care. Your input is not just encouraged; it is legally required to ensure that the care plan accurately reflects your loved one’s needs and preferences.


Close-up of a supportive caregiver's hands gently guiding an elderly person's hands on a walking cane, symbolizing the trust and care provided to seniors, relevant to articles on being knowledgeable and attentive to a loved one's needs.

Advocating for Your Loved One

As an empowered advocate, your responsibility is to ensure that the assessment information provided to the nursing home is correct and comprehensive. Think of the assessment process like computer programming: if inaccurate or incomplete information is used, the care plan will not effectively address your loved one’s needs. The more specific and individualized the assessment, the better the care plan can be tailored to meet their requirements. Your involvement in the care plan team is not about being confrontational but rather working collaboratively with the nursing home staff to achieve the best possible care for your loved one. While you may not possess the same level of expertise in areas such as pressure ulcer risk reduction, Medicare regulations, or polypharmacy, you have unparalleled knowledge of your resident’s unique needs and preferences.

As the family member of a nursing home resident, you are a crucial advocate and expert in your loved one’s care. Recognize the significance of your role in the care plan team, and actively engage with the nursing home staff to ensure that your loved one receives the individualized care they deserve. By working together, you can help create a safer, more compassionate environment for your loved one and make a significant difference in their quality of life during their stay in the nursing home.

A compassionate young woman holds hands with an elderly lady while engaging in a heartfelt conversation, showcasing a moment of understanding and personal care, aligning with the concept of being an expert on your loved one's needs and well-being.

Most admission assessments by nursing home staff are done by a review of the prior hospitalization records. It is your job to make sure that the information and assumptions made by the assessing nursing staff is correct. Does your loved one have allergies? What time do they typically go to bed? What time do they get up in the morning? What do they like to do during the day? Are there foods that they love? Foods that they hate? What did they do during their lifetime? What do they enjoy reminiscing about? If they are upset, what typically calms them down? What sorts of things trigger negative emotions for them? As you can see, no nursing staff is going to be a better “expert” than you on the resident. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a nursing home, please contact Williams DeLoatche, P.C. now for a free case evaluation at 757-547-5555.