Even after your loved one is in a long-term care facility, you can play an important role in the quality of his or her care. Because many nursing homes are understaffed, and because no employee can know as much about your loved one as you can, you can be a valuable resource in the care giving process.
From the moment your loved one is admitted, it is important that you get to know his or her regular care providers. Make sure the staff members working with your loved one know his or her preferences and needs. Help them get to know your relative as a person, too, by sharing information about his or her hobbies and history. This kind of sharing becomes especially important if your loved one is unable to communicate well.
To take this a step further, you should maintain an open dialogue with not only your loved one’s direct care givers, but the administration and other staff members as well. Be sure to praise the staff when you see fit. Not only will they appreciate the feedback, but you may find that it helps when you need to air a complaint, as well. When a person does nothing but complain, he or she is often dismissed as an all-around negative individual. On the other hand, if you are the source of occasional praise, you are more likely to be perceived as informed and reasonable.
Since most states require some form of regular meetings for resident care plans, those can be another avenue to stay involved in day-to-day care. Make an effort to attend all relevant meetings, and follow up with staff and any involved doctors to make sure that the plan is being followed. If something doesn’t sound right, ask questions and document the answers.