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If you or your loved one is a nursing home resident, understanding your rights is crucial for ensuring quality and person-centered care. Federal laws mandate nursing homes to provide services that support residents’ well-being. However, instances of rights violations and unmet needs are not uncommon. Knowing how to advocate for change within your facility and on a broader scale is essential.
Voicing Concerns: Strategies for Change Within Your Nursing Facility
Discussing concerns directly with nursing home staff and administration is the first step. If unsuccessful, escalate the matter through the hierarchy, from staff supervisors to administrators. Utilize care plan meetings to express concerns, work with the staff to find solutions, and follow up if issues persist. Familiarize yourself with the facility’s grievance process, filing a formal complaint if needed. Residents can also file complaints with the State Survey Agency (SSA), which oversees nursing homes and investigates concerns.
Engaging with resident or family groups can be instrumental. These groups serve as a collective voice, addressing facility-wide concerns with administrators. Joining or initiating a family group fosters a supportive community and aids in effective communication.
Influencing Long-Term Care Policy
Sharing your personal story is a powerful advocacy tool. Communicate your experiences with local officials, state legislators, members of Congress, the Governor, and the media. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), and TikTok allow you to share your long-term care experiences widely. Connect with elected officials, informing them about issues in long-term care and advocating for legislative support.
Engaging with the media is another impactful strategy. Share your story with reporters, submit Op-Eds, or write letters to the editor to raise awareness and create pressure for change. Also, voting in both federal and state elections is essential, as policies shaped by elected officials significantly impact long-term care.
Advocating for improved care in nursing homes requires a multifaceted approach, from addressing issues within your facility to influencing broader policy changes. By understanding your rights and utilizing available resources, you contribute to creating a more compassionate and supportive environment for all residents. Explore additional resources on our website to empower your advocacy efforts.
For more advocacy resources, visit https://nursinghomeadvocates.com/nursing-home-abuse/resources/
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Martin J. Solomon is a principal at Solomon & Relihan PC and has been licensed to practice law in Arizona since 1970. He practices exclusively in the area of personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on nursing home abuse and neglect. Martin is a graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law, a past president of the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, and has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Arizona Center for Disability Law and the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. He is a member of the Nursing Home Litigation Group in the American Association for Justice (formerly the American Trial Lawyers Association), the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform and the Maricopa Elder Abuse Prevent Prevention Alliance.