One of the things I stress when talking about concerns at home or in a facility is making sure you put everything in writing. If you have a concern, it should be put in writing to the proper people and then a follow up email should be sent confirming your letter, phone call or email. It is imperative that the staff respond to your concerns. Your concern should be acknowledged and a plan to handle the issue should be agreed upon between everyone involved.
Recently, my mom was having a dental issue and we had decided to have a nurse come directly to the facility to pull a tooth. There are actually dentists that travel to senior locations to perform different types of dental procedures right in the room. After getting everything planned it turned out that my mom was not feeling up to it and so we decided to cancel the Monday procedure on a Friday afternoon.
I sent an email to both the head nurse and the executive director to let them know the procedure would not be done and to request that they inform the caregivers and the nursing staff to resume her regular medication schedule and that they no longer needed to give her the antibiotic that had been prescribed. I sent an email and after not hearing a reply from either person I sent a second email. The follow up email asked them to please respond because I was concerned that nobody would know what to do as far as her meds over the weekend. I then decided I would need to drive over there and talk directly to the nurse on duty as we were coming up around 3:30pm.
I informed the nurse as to what changes were occurring. Apparently, she had not been told by the head nurse or the executive director. She said she would make a note about it. The weekend came and went and I never heard a reply from either of the people in those managerial positions at the facility. If I had not gone over there would the nurses know to give her the regular meds and to stop the antibiotic? What if this had happened to another resident who did not have a family member able to drive to the facility to check on these things like I was?
I continue to tell staff in all facilities and my clients that communication is the key to avoiding most issues within a facility. When the staff does not communicate with the family and when the options for communicating are limited problems will occur. Some of the problems could be and often are life threatening. Make sure that someone responds to you and if they do not then you should make sure you find a way to be heard in order to protect your loved one. It has now been almost one month since I sent those two emails as well as a followup email commenting about the lack of response and I have yet to hear back from either staff member.