It’s common for aged care residents to be mostly content in their aged care home, but there are one or two small things that are bothering them.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right words to raise these issues with the home, particularly if you are the son or daughter of the person in care. But if it’s bothering you, it’s important to bring these things to the attention of the home, not just for the sake of your loved one, but also for the home itself. This is because the vast majority of homes welcome resident feedback as they strive to constantly improve the service they offer.
If you have serious concerns about the health and wellbeing of a loved one in aged care due to inadequate care, always make sure you talk directly and immediately to the Facility Manager or Director of Nursing. If you are unsatisfied with their response, you can make an anonymous complaint through the Aged Care Complaints Scheme.
If the issues are comparatively minor, read on for tips on how to handle the conversation:
1. Frame your feedback around the impact on your loved one, rather than the problem itself
It’s important to explain to the home why the issue that you are raising is important. Rather than focussing on the actual issue or problem, you’re more likely to affect change in the home if you frame the conversation around the impact the problem is having on your loved one. For example, if you think the meals being served lack variety, focus on how that lack of variety is frustrating for your loved one and can contribute to boredom and listlessness. Or if you’re worried that there aren’t enough activities at the home to keep your loved one engaged, explain how important social interaction is to your mum or dad, and that without it, they may become withdrawn. Viewed in isolation, it’s easier to dismiss problems. By giving context to your feedback, you’re helping the home to understand how the problem is affecting your loved one and why a solution is needed.
2. Focus on the future and how the problem can be solved
Once you explain what the problem is and the impact it’s having, it’s best to turn the conversation toward coming up with a solution, rather than continuing to focus on the problem. Before having the conversation with the home, you may like to discuss what steps could be taken to improve the situation with your loved one. That way you’ll be delivering feedback, as well as suggestions on how the problem can be solved, and not leaving it up to the home to come up with all the solutions. Collaborative problem solving is always the best way to achieve better outcomes for all involved in these situations.
3. Follow up
Aged care workers, in particular Facility Managers and Directors of Nursing (DONs), are usually very busy with the daily activities of running a care home. That’s why it’s always worth following up a week or so after raising a concern to make sure it’s still on the radar and on someone’s to-do list.
4. Keep it polite
You may be frustrated or even a bit upset about the issue you are raising, but try to remember that the staff are there because they care about the wellbeing of older people — that’s why they became an aged care worker! They may not be perfect but mostly they’re good people doing a good job, they just sometimes need a gentle nudge to do even better.
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