My mothers nursing home does not keep her surroundings clean and seem negligent to her sanitary conditions. What can I do?

When I visited my mom in her nursing home last night, I noticed that her breakfast and lunch trays were stacked on the floor at the foot of her bed. She was sitting in her wheelchair, finishing up her dinner. Next to her tray was a cup filled with pills. When I noticed that her bed was wet, she said workers rarely answer her buzzer when she needs help getting into the restroom quickly.

My mom has trouble swallowing and I’m alarmed that her pills were just sitting there since she might try to take them all at once, without enough water. The trays on the floor attract flies and may cause my mom to have an accident when she tries to get things out of her closet. I’m at a loss as to what I should do since these problems aren’t dire emergencies yet they do make my mom’s situation less safe and clean. I don’t want to move my mom since this place  was highly recommended and is right near my home. What should I do?

Answers (1)

Apart from searching for another facility, you might want to first speak with the top administrator of the current nursing home about your concerns, noting that you’d like for your mom to keep living there, if these problems are quickly corrected. If this doesn’t help, check to see if there’s an ombudsman who can help you get critical changes made. Nursing homes rely heavily on positive word of mouth to keep going, so most will listen to your complaints and readily make necessary changes.

If your mom’s needs still aren’t being properly met, you should seriously consider    filing a complaint with your state’s Department of Aging (or similarly titled agency)   to alert them to the problems. It would also be wise to contact a lawyer specializing in nursing home standards of care and abuse issues. Few nursing homes want the  negative publicity that comes with litigation. Furthermore, since they are all regularly inspected and rated by the individual states, they don’t want to lose their licenses by failing to comply with basic health and safety requirements.

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