Helping Your Family Member Adjust to Nursing Home Living-Tip #23

Communication among staff, families and residents help keep small problems from becoming big problems.  Periodically, the nursing home must hold care conferences.  During these meetings, the Interdisciplinary Care Team should discuss the needs of the resident,  identify current problems and/or improvements made and changes that may need to be made.  Typically, the family or the responsible party and the resident (if appropriate) should be invited to these routine conferences. Staff members that may be present consist of a nurse and/or nursing manager of the unit, the MDS coordinator, the social worker, the activities director, the restorative nurse, the dietician and the therapist.  Inquire  when these conferences occur and try to attend them regularly.  This will provide an opportunity for you to sit down with the interdisciplinary team for one-on-one communication, express any concerns or requests, ask specific questions or even compliment the staff for the care they are providing.  It is helpful to come prepared with a list of questions and/or concern you would like to address. One of the members of the team usually takes notes on the topics discussed.  You may want to invite another family member or a close friend to also attend and/or to participate if you are unable to meet with the team on the scheduled day.  If unable to personally attend the meeting, you could ask for a phone conference during the meeting. The meetings should transpire whether or not family and/or residents are present.  Another option may be to meet with one of the members of the team prior to or following the meeting.  Please refer to  prior blogs “Attend the Family Council Meetings at your Nursing Home” and “Attend the Resident Council Meetings at your Nursing Home” for further information.