I was in a doctor’s waiting room this week and overheard at least two separate conversations about local nursing homes.

One woman was sharing the story of her mother that had been in and out of at least 3 local nursing homes in the last few months.

A nurse told me that she worked at a local nursing home on the weekends and that she found the people and staff to be wonderful. I think she said she “really loved working there.”

A third woman told a friend she used to work in a nursing home and it was so bad she wouldn’t send a dog there.

Truthfully, we all have opinions, experiences and ideas about what good care is, what it looks like and what bad care is.

So what if your gut tells you a loved one is not getting great care. What do you do?
Here is my best advice:

1. ask for a meeting with the DON or administrator.
2. take notes.
3. follow up in writing on what was discussed.
4. be kind.
5. don’t threaten a lawsuit. seriously. I mean this.
6. don’t write nasty threatening letters. I mean this too.

If nothing changes, ask for another meeting and look for a new location.
1. ask your physician for his or her advice.
2. look around.

If you can’t move someone because there are no other options, you have to be the advocate:
1. come by all hours
2. take notes
3. speak kindly to nurses when things are missed
4. ask to meet with the MD next time he or she is on site
5. call the local Agency on aging ombudsmen for advice
6. call 911 if you need to

There is nothing easy about this. Not for you, not for the patient or the staff.
Some nursing homes provide good care. Others don’t. Do yourself a favor and don’t just sit back and hope your loved one is in a good one.

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.