Steps to Take in Resolving a Dispute with a Nursing Home

Long-Term Care | May 30, 2013 | Hook Law Center

Disputes between nursing homes and residents’ families can arise over a number of topics. The quality of care and food, adequate staffing levels for proper assistance, and opportunities for occupational therapy are all possible points of conflict.

If you never have an issue with the care your loved one receives in a nursing home, you are one of the lucky few. If, on the other hand, you have a concern that must be addressed, you may be unsure how to proceed.

The following list explains actions you may take in making your concerns known and getting the level of care you expect for your family member. Significant and pervasive issues – and those involving injury or suffering – often are best handled with the assistance of an experienced elder law attorney. Fortunately, many issues are easily resolved with simple communication.

In all cases, keep careful written records of the observations you made that led to your concerns and your communications with facility staff, including their names. And at all stages, make it known what attempts you have already made to resolve the matter.

1) Talk to staff and explain to them what concerns you and what you expect of them and the facility. Avoid using an accusatory manner.

2) Talk to a supervisor. Again, explain the problem you are having and how you want it resolved.

3) Hold a meeting with nursing home personnel, including a supervisor. If you have regular care planning meetings, that is a good time to raise your concerns. Otherwise, you may request a special meeting.

4) Contact the ombudsman assigned to the nursing home or, if the issue constitutes a regulatory violation, contact your state licensing agency.

5) Hire a lawyer. If communication and appeals to authorities have not resolved the matter, an attorney has the tools to force facilities to follow regulations.

6) Move your relative. While this may be difficult, it is available as a last resort. This does not prevent you from taking legal action against the current facility.

The elder law attorneys at Hook Law Center assist Virginia families with will preparation, trust & estate administration, guardianships and conservatorships, long-term care planning, special needs planning, veterans benefits, and more. To learn more, visit or call 757-399-7506.

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