How To Handle Your Nursing Home Complaints

How To Handle Your Nursing Home Complaints

Nursing homes do not guarantee perfect care, so it’s important to have a thorough plan, including preparation for an inconvenience or issue. 

You could be worried about the standard of care provided in a nursing home, whether you’re providing care or needing it. You might be trying to find a means to report a problem or a future complaint.

Either way, this article will guide you on handling concerns and what to do.

Find the real issue behind a complaint.

It’s crucial to look into the underlying causes of the concern before making a complaint. As an illustration, your mother may grumble that she is lonely and bored or that no one talks to her. Introduce your loved one to welcoming residents or staff members. Encourage her to engage in activities rather than staying in her room all the time.

Conversely, if your loved one criticizes the treatment they have received, find out more information from them so you can grasp the issue and be ready to report it.

Identify if the issue can be resolved on your own.

Some issues in nursing homes can be resolved quickly. Try to attend during mealtime to observe what they offer if Dad claims he detests the food. Additionally, you can enquire about the menu options and ensure the staff complies with any dietary restrictions the doctor prescribes for your loved one.

Again, you might want to keep an eye out for indications that the care provided to your loved one is subpar.

According to the United States Agency on Aging, some states have a long-term care ombudsmen available. These people may listen to your complaint and help resolve the problem.

Communicate with nursing staff or residents and build rapport.

It’s crucial to hear both sides of a story whenever we hear a complaint before passing judgment. To get any information that would be useful to you, try to speak with a staff person or resident who may be close to your family member.

Additionally, it’s critical to get to know the aids personally and aid them in comprehending the peculiarities, routines, and preferences of your loved one. Doing this can reduce the likelihood of complaints, eliminate misunderstandings, and foster a better relationship between the staff and your loved one.

Be more involved.

Try to be present as much as you can. Offer the inhabitants your or other people’s skills in music, painting, storytelling, or computer education. Visit as frequently as possible and at various hours of the day and night. Establish a friendly and familiar presence for oneself.

This will encourage your loved ones to participate in their care and enable you to closely monitor it, making it simpler to spot any problems and lodge a complaint.

Be present at important meetings.

Attend the quarterly or annual staff review of the care plan for your relative. You can take advantage of this chance to discuss worries and inquiries with those directly responsible for your family member’s care. Because they interact with residents the most, aides are the best to ask about your relative’s needs. Make sure the staff is aware of your want to attend the evaluations and your requirement for advanced notice of meeting times.

If you discover a major issue, you must raise a red flag.

Observe, note, and report serious lapses in care.

The most significant issues relating to care quality may be noticed or unspoken by your family member.

If there seems to be an issue, talk to the nurses and doctor first. If you are unsatisfied with their responses, call the nursing home ombudsman in your area. Ombudsmen are qualified to address issues with care quality and offer solutions for other non-life-threatening problems. Any indication of sexual, physical, or verbal abuse needs to be immediately reported to your state’s department of health, the nursing home management, and an ombudsman.

Reporting An Issue

If you are experiencing an issue at the nursing home, speak to the affected employees. For instance, talk to the nurse or Certified Nurse Assistant if you have issues with your care (CNA). If the issue persists, you could contact one of these:

  • The supervisor
  • The social worker
  • The Director of Nursing
  • Your doctor

The nursing home facility must post the name, address, and phone number of state groups, like these:

  • State Survey Agency
  • State Licensure Office
  • State Ombudsman Program
  • Protection and Advocacy Network
  • Medicaid Fraud Control Unit

Call one of these in your area if you need outside assistance to address your problem.:

  • Long-Term Care Ombudsman
  • State Survey Agency

There must be a grievance process in place at the facility. You should follow the facility’s grievance procedure if your issue is not remedied. You may also bring the situation to the resident or family council.

Instructions for Filing a Nursing Home Complaint

Anyone with knowledge or concerns regarding the care of a person in a nursing home may file a complaint with their State Survey Agency. All of the nursing facilities in the state are subject to regulation by the State Survey Agency.

Here’s the step-by-step process you should expect when you file a complaint:

Step 1:

You’ll have to include as much information as possible when submitting your complaint. 

The information you are expected to include are:

  • Date and time when the concern occurred.
  • How often the concern has occurred.
  • The location where the concern occurred. 
  • List of the people involved or any witnesses.

You are encouraged to ask for as much information as possible to help investigate and resolve the concern.

Your State Survey Agency will use the information you give to determine how to respond and when to conduct any investigations. It would be simpler to remember the details if you report a concern right once, and it will also help the State Survey Agency gather crucial data.

Step 2:

A State Survey Agency representative will be in touch with you about your complaints after receiving your complaint to go over the best course of action and estimated timelines. For additional follow-up, the representative will also give you the phone number of a contact at the State Survey Agency.

Step 3:

The State Survey Agency will investigate your concern if it involves a potential violation of a Federal or State nursing home rule. Examining records, speaking with staff and residents, and watching how residents are cared for are all possible components of the study.

Step 4:

If you include your contact information in Section 1 on the complaint form, the State Survey Agency will let you know the findings after completing the inquiry.


Adults who are elderly or disabled can get competent nursing and supportive care in nursing homes around-the-clock. Even though most people and their families are satisfied, issues can sometimes occur. Concern-raising is essential to upholding senior citizens’ rights and enhancing nursing home care.