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How to Effectively Complain About Bad Care in a Nursing Home

In this episode David Terry discusses how to effectively complain about bad care in a nursing home.

The following issues are discussed:

One of the biggest concerns that people have about putting their elderly family members into a nursing home is whether they are going to get bad care and sadly it happens a lot.

  • 95% of residents are neglected during their nursing home residency
  • 44% of residents are abused during their nursing home residency

Common complaints:

  • Where are the employees?
  • Mom was left in her bed for hours at a time with a dirty diaper.
  • The food is left by their bed, but dad can’t feed himself and the nursing home employees don’t help feed him.
  • Employees are not brushing Mom’s teeth
  • Employees are not giving Mom proper hygiene.
  • Bed sores, falls, medication errors, etc.

What do you do when your loved one is receiving bad care at a nursing home?

  • The wrong way to complain is to be rude, belligerent, yell at employees, to call them names that threaten lawsuits, and even to threaten individuals. And it doesn’t work.
  •  The right way is to remain calm, to be respectful. You can still raise your voice. You don’t have to be a pushover. You can be forceful while still being calm. The key is to be firm, truthful and factual. You don’t want to use absolutes.
    • First recommendation – Make first complaint to the people who deal with the residents most of the time, that’s going to be the CNAs. And if that doesn’t work, go to director of nursing and if that doesn’t work go to the Administrator.
    • Second recommendation – Set up a meeting with the Administrator and others who can correct the problem.
      • Consider recording the meeting. BUT BEFORE YOU RECORD:
        • Get consent from everyone in the meeting before starting to record
        • If everyone consents, start the recording and again get them consenting to the recording “on the record.”
        • If even one person does not consent, do not record
      • Take thorough notes.
        • Ask everybody who’s there to review those notes and to sign off on it.
        • Before you leave, ask them to make a copy and to put their copy in your loved one’s chart.
        • When you go home, make another copy. (You always keep the originals). Write a letter to the administrator enclosing a copy of your notes and again ask that the notes be made part of your loved one’s chart.
        • Go to the post office, and send that letter to the administrator by certified mail keeping the proof that you send it certified mail and when you get that return receipt in the mail keep it and staple it all together and put that in your documentation.
      • This may seem a bit extreme, but it proves that you sent that letter and notes to the nursing home and that they received it. If you don’t go to these extreme measures don’t be surprised when the nursing home denies that you ever provided them notes or that they promised to do those things for your family or that you sent them a letter.

David has created a downloadable document called The Art of the Complaint. You can download it the document for FREE at


David Terry


Contact No: 314-878-9797

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About the Terry Law Firm

Terry Law Firm concentrates on nursing home abuse and neglect cases as well as elder abuse cases in the states of Missouri, Illinois, and Arkansas.

Locations for Terry Law Firm

St. Louis Office

2001 S. Big Bend Blvd.

Suite 209

St. Louis, MO 63117

Chesterfield Office

13321 N. Outer 40 Rd.

Suite 300

Chesterfield, MO 63017

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David Terry