Nursing Home Care Meetings: What Families Need To Know

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you have probably experienced the quarterly care management meetings.  These meetings are designed to provide an update on your loved one.  Usually, the social worker, nurse, activities director and possibly the nutritionist attend to give the update.

When I first started to attend as a patient advocate, I thought the meetings were more like a case conference where interaction and questions were welcome and expected. I thought it was about the family giving input and resolving any issues.  My first experience erased any illusions.

The meetings are for the staff to speak, the family to listen and to end within the allotted time of 15-30 minutes.  Thank you and goodbye, see you in three months and call if you have a problems or concerns.   The meetings are scheduled back to back so running over is not an option.

What I have found is many families are actually hesitant to address problems.  The fear is the family member will experience some form of retaliation from the staff.  Is this a real fear?  I can’t say I have witnessed it.  What I have experienced is the staff turning a deaf ear to a family’s concern and not following up or communicating any changes.

For families my suggestion is, don’t have expectations for the meetings.  They are just for show and part of  most state and federal regulations.  If you have concerns, address them with the staff at other times.  Also, it is up to you to follow up and make sure the issues have been addressed.