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The best way to address nursing home concerns is to be polite yet persistent. Many problems arise out of a lack of adequate staffing. In many instances, the staff is fully aware of their inadequacies and only wish that they were better equipped to help you. It really is best to find someone at the management or supervisory level with whom you might discuss your worries.

* Get the facts. Find out exactly what’s been happening and keep a record or journal of your concerns. It helps to be specific. It sounds much more official and serious when you can definitively say, “On June 5 at 6:00pm I saw this...” or “I heard this...”

* Try to find the person in charge or someone who is directly involved with the problem. Don’t waste time getting frustrated with people who haven’t the authority to help you.

* Be firm, yet pleasant and try not to take a hostile attitude. You are much more likely to get your problem addressed if you treat the home’s employees with respect. Many people who work in nursing homes do so because they actually want to help the elderly.

* If you still can’t get some answers, ask to speak to the administrator or director of the nursing home and enlist his or her aid in resolving your problems.

* If all attempts fail, and you are still dissatisfied, go to the authorities.

Places to make official complaints are:
- the county welfare office if the patient is covered by Medicaid
- the state health department’s division of health care quality
- the Better Business Bureau