When you suspect a problem with the nursing home where your family member resides, you have the right to file a complaint. You can write a nursing home complaint letter to the facility outlining your concerns. You can also file a formal nursing home complaint with the appropriate agencies that oversee and license nursing homes in California.
Nursing homes across the state are understaffed. That means a higher risk of neglect and abuse. Some workers are doing their best but still cannot keep up with the daily demands. Nursing homes that do not hire enough staff should be held accountable for anything that happens. Change starts by filing a complaint and discussing your concerns with the nursing home staff.
If you are unsure how to address your concerns and complaints, read on for tips on writing a nursing home complaint letter.
How to Write a Complaint Letter to a Nursing Home
If your family member’s life is at risk, you should contact 911 and get them to safety. Consider speaking to the nursing home before filing a formal complaint for less serious concerns. Writing a nursing home complaint letter is the best way to start the process and show you tried to resolve the issue before escalation. Understandably, you might also be worried about making a bad situation worse by filing a complaint. Your family member’s safety should be a top priority.
When nursing homes are understaffed, it leads to issues such as one nursing assistant trying to move a patient when two are needed. Is understaffing an excuse for nursing home neglect and abuse? No, which is why it’s crucial to bring up your concerns.
Understandably, you might be very emotional, but resist the urge to scream and be demanding. Instead, present your concerns confidently and powerfully so the nursing home knows they can’t ignore you. Avoid the temptation to argue the nursing home “always” forgets something or does something wrong. Instead, refer to specific instances, such as dates and times.
Whom to Speak to at the Nursing Home?
There’s no absolute right or wrong method for addressing complaints with nursing home staff. You can work your way up the chain of command and be sure to take copious notes of each person you speak with throughout the process.
Nursing Home Aides
Start by speaking with the nursing home aides, typically certified nursing assistants (CNAs). These individuals might not know there’s a problem. This conversation might lead to an immediate resolution. You can escalate the issue if they do not fix the problem or seem uninterested.
Director of Nursing
Nursing homes typically have a nurse who oversees all the other CNAs. Make an appointment and come prepared with your complaints written down and outlined. Be sure to include details of your conversations with the nursing home aides who did not correct the issues.
Nursing Home Administrator
If you don’t get answers from the nursing director, your next stop is the nursing home administrator. Take notes during the meeting and ask for permission to record the session ahead of time. Don’t be surprised if the person does not consent to the recording. You can send a copy of all your written notes confirming the conversation to the administrator afterward.
How to File a Formal Nursing Home Complaint
When you suspect something terrible is happening, you have the right to file a formal complaint with government agencies. To start, you can file a complaint for abuse or neglect with the Licensing and Certification Division of the California Department of Health (DPH). This agency enforces nursing home laws and regulations, conducts regular inspections, and investigates complaints.
You can also file a complaint with your local ombudsman office. This office helps residents with concerns and complaints over patient rights. This office doesn’t have direct power over the nursing home, but they can address your complaints and be a patient advocate.
Be sure your nursing home complaint letter has all the pertinent information, such as:
- Nursing home facility information,
- Your contact information,
- Patient information,
- Specific complaints with dates and times,
- Names of any witnesses,
- Names of staff if relevant to the complaint, and
- Recommended records to review.
Lodging a formal complaint about nursing home neglect and abuse can be scary. If you suspect a problem at a loved one’s facility, the lawyers at Silva Injury Law can help. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation for more information. We are well-versed in the issues happening in nursing homes all around the state and have years of experience representing victims. Let us help you protect the rights of your family members.
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