Inspecting the Quality of Care in Your Loved One's Nursing Home

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • Sometimes you just have to have perseverance. After Mom’s second move in early October, we did end up with new nursing staff being assigned to her wing. And starting the week of the move, we found that when we visited, more often than not Mom’s oxygen bottle was empty (or close to being empty) and/or the regulator was turned to the wrong level.

    This is important information for two reasons. First of all, Mom has Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD) from far too many years of smoking. Secondly, her lungs have gotten bad enough that the extra oxygen from her regulator often is the difference in her mental state. I’ve noticed that when her oxygen has been wrong, she tends to be more confused and agitated. If her oxygen is correct, she tends to be closer to “normal.”
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    So we began to express our concerns through the proper channel. My father called the director of nursing. Afterwards, when I found issues with Mom’s oxygen, I brought it to the attention of the nurse who was assigned to that shift. I also had to start changing the time that I was visiting Mom so I would again become a visible presence on all shifts in order to get the nursing staff’s attention. I also brought it up in front of the nursing home’s activity director when I found Mom sitting without the oxygen nosepiece on outside the director’s office. I made myself a regular presence in the director of nursing’s office when I noticed a problem. In other words, I made a pest of myself.

    Actually, to tell you the truth, let me restate that last sentence: I became even more of Mom’s advocate. I’ve learned that you may have to have a visible presence at all times in order to ensure quality service. It’s not that people are trying to harm Mom. But I’ve learned that people pay attention and “respect what is being inspected” (which in this case, is Mom’s care). So by actively paying attention to Mom’s situation, I am “inspecting” the quality of care she receives. The nursing home staff knows that I am a partner in her care – and also that I am watching the level of care that they are providing to her.

    Learn more about caregiving, Alzhiemer's disease, and treatment.
Published On: October 31, 2006