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Advocate for Yourself or a Loved One

A group of older adults wearing face masks as they play board games together.

Tips for individuals to be advocates for themselves or loved ones who live in a long-term care facility:

  • Get familiar with staff members - know their names, roles, and responsibilities in resident care.
  • Educate the facility staff about your or your loved one's preferences, daily routine, activities, work, etc.
  • Pay attention to the care provided and how it impacts your or your loved one’s condition: hygiene, mood, energy level, weight, etc.
  • Report concerns and problems to staff members as soon as they arise so that they can be addressed  immediately. First voice concerns to those directly  involved. If this action yields no result, report your concern to staff supervisors.
  • Document your concerns and actions taken to report them: The names of those involved, date, time, and details of the event, who the concern has been reported to and when, what steps are taken to  remedy the problem, and the outcome.
  • Request a meeting with appropriate staff people to address concerns you may have. Focus the meeting on the outcome that you would like to see and how it can be accomplished.
  • Be assertive, persistent, and confident, but respectful in your interactions with staff. Clearly state your specific concern and the outcome you would like to see.
  • Organize a resident or family council with other concerned residents or family members.

Seek outside help if your concerns are not remedied by the facility or if you witness an instance of severe neglect or abuse. Report complaints and care problems to the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, your local long-term care ombudsman program, or the state survey agency, so that they can investigate.