Speaking Up for Loved Ones

Should you find yourself needing to speak up on behalf of a parent or other long term care center resident, the first step is to gather accurate information. The more knowledge you have regarding facility guidelines and state and national requirements, the more able you will be to promote their rights and well-being.

Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is a great starting point for understanding the rights of long term care residents. 
Florida law provides various terms and protections for long term care residents and their families. Many of these rules specifically regard procedures that facilities must use in daily administration. For example, Section 400.022, Florida Statutes, requires nursing centers to give residents at least 30 days written notice of discharge or relocation, and permits centers to transfer residents only for medical reasons, the welfare of other residents or nonpayment of a bill. Likewise, in most cases, residents of assisted living facilities have the right to at least 45 days notice prior to being relocated.

AARP also offers advice on speaking up for parents in nursing centers, specifically when concerns are present. Their five top points include:

  1. Speak individually with your parents’ caretakers, approaching conversations with openness.
  2. Attend the facility’s next care planning meeting or family council meeting and raise your concerns.
  3. If your issues are not addressed, speak with a supervisor. Convey specifics about any incidents, and let it be known if you are concerned that your parents will face retaliation for your complaint.
  4. If issues are still unresolved, file a written complaint with the facility. Nursing homes follow formal grievance processes that include time frames for responding.
  5. Lastly, contact the long term care ombudsman’s office in your area or at the state level.