7 Tips for Dealing with Nursing Home Staff

Dorian Martin May 30th, 2014 (updated May 29th, 2015)
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Sometimes a person with Alzheimer’s disease has to be placed in a nursing home. At this point, the caregiver’s job switches from day-to-day care to being an advocate. While this is a different role, it is a very important since your interactions with staff will help guide your loved one’s care.  These tips can help build relationships with the staff who now are responsible for the day-to-day care.

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Relationships with the staff are key
Relationships with the staff are key

It will help your loved one tremendously if you develop professional relationships among the nursing home staff. You don’t have to be friends with the staff, but it helps to create a respectful environment in which they can voice their professional concerns and you can encourage them to offer quality care to your loved.  

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Vary the times you visit
Vary the times you visit

It’s easy to go at the same time every day; however, you’ll miss interacting with a significant number of staff members who regularly assist your loved one.  Therefore, especially when your loved one is first placed in a nursing home, try to vary the times you go to visit in order to hit all the shifts.

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Be visible
Be visible

Find ways to meet the staff. Stop by during events, say hello to staff members in the hall, and visit the nursing station on your way in or out of the facility. By being visible and building relationships with the staff, you’ll position yourself to be a more effective advocate for your loved one with the nursing home’s staff.

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Attend care plan meetings
Attend care plan meetings

These meetings can provide a wealth of information about your loved one’s health status, issues that have arisen and future needs. You’ll get to hear from representatives from the entire staff – such as the physical therapist, the occupational therapist and the speech therapist – which will give you a more well-rounded picture of the care provided.

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Voice your concerns properly
Voice your concerns properly

If you have a concern about your loved one’s care, voice it with the staff member or the nurse who is assigned to your loved first and then see if it’s addressed in a timely and effective manner. Allowing these staff members to do their jobs and professionally deal with the issue will help build the relationships you will need long-term.

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Follow the chain of command if you have a problem
Follow the chain of command if you have a problem

Sometimes the problems you describe won’t be addressed by staff. At this point, follow the chain of command. Therefore, if a nurse doesn’t address the issue that your loved one’s oxygen canister is always empty, go talk to the director of nursing. Don’t jump levels and go directly to the nursing home administrator unless all avenues of discourse are tried.

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Say thank you
Say thank you

Working in a nursing home can be a thankless job. Therefore, you’re taking the time to say thank you – whether through the actual words, an action or by buying a treat for the staff – will go a long way in building relationships between you and the staff.