Yikes! You researched, you packed, you’ve spent time making sure that your loved one is okay, and now you realize that this nursing home is not working out. Maybe it’s too far away for you to visit or you didn’t realize that certain services were an additional charge. Whatever your reasons may be, how do you switch from one nursing home to another?
If it’s a problem with care or service, I would recommend talking to the caregiver or nurse that is in contact most with the patient. In a non-confrontational way you could ask, “Mom doesn’t seem to be happy. Is there anything I can do or should know about to help make her stay here more comfortable?” If there is a care problem, you may question, “I’ve noticed mom’s bandages haven’t been changed today. Is there a reason for that?” You attract more flies with honey, and the staff will be more open to helping if you aren’t accusatory.
If the issue continues or if the problem becomes bigger, contact management before you take any drastic measures. Maybe a new nurse was on staff or an emergency with another patient caused a glitch in aiding your loved one. It may have been a rare occurrence and not the norm. However, if your loved one was put at risk or if you found evidence of abuse, there is no excuse and a new home should be found immediately. Keep detailed records, contact an attorney, and report your findings to Medicare. The Nursing Home Abuse Guide is also a great resource to help you detect and report senior abuse. You also have the option of going to your ombudsman. Every state has a long-term care ombudsman who is your representative with nursing homes and is not affiliated with any facility. You can get information online at the National Long Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center.
Secondly, if your loved one has a medical condition that is not being fully cared for in his or her current nursing home (such as Alzheimer’s), you may want to talk to the director or your loved one’s doctor to see if there is another nursing home in the area more equipped to handle such cases.
Keep records so that the transfer process will be as smooth as possible. It is best to be able to provide the potential nursing home with the patient's records and reports from doctors and the current nursing home. The new nursing home will need to know the level of care the patient needs before accepting the patient. They can also assist if special transportation is needed from one home to the other.
All nursing home residents have rights, including the right to change nursing home facilities at any time for any reason. Finding the right nursing home can be a challenge, but your loved one’s well being is of the upmost importance. Just because one nursing home didn’t work out doesn’t mean that the next one won’t be a great fit.