Advocate for Quality Long Term Care

If your loved one with dementia lives in a nursing home or other residential care facility, one of your main concerns is likely ensuring his or her comfort. An important first step is to have a conversation with the leadership team at the facility in which your loved one resides to talk with them about your concerns. With open communication, you and the staff can become true partners in providing quality care for your loved one. Use the following checklist as prompts for discussion with the facility’s staff, other health care providers or relatives and friends:

  • List your loved one’s preferences for food, drink, clothing, bathing, etc. as well as any dietary restrictions
  • How does staff routinely anticipate needs such as hunger, boredom, toileting and fatigue?
  • Determine if pain is evaluated daily and relief is provided with medications and non-drug measures.
  • Decide whether psychotropic drugs are administered only with your permission.
  • How does your loved one prefer to be addressed by staff?
  • Does your loved one prefer to communicate in a different language?
  • Discuss opportunities for staff to tap your loved one’s remaining abilities and strengths whenever possible.
  • How does staff work to engage your loved one in activities that keep them active and encourage social interaction?
  • Know your loved one’s wishes and goals of care regarding hospitalization, intravenous anti-biotics, hospice and artificial feeding/hydration and discuss these with the staff.

For more advice and recommendations on how to partner with your loved one’s care facility, contact the Alzheimer’s Association, any time day or night at 1.800.272.3900 or visit

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2 Responses

  1. Bravo on your article about how a caregiver can still advocate for a loved one in a nursing facility. As a psychologist and author who has worked in public nursing homes for over 16 years, I learned that the more the family advocates for a loved one, the more the loved one is seen as an individual with a disease, not as a demented individual. Communication is the key – with the nursing home staff and your loved one, too.

    Judith L. London, Ph.D., author of “Connecting the Dots: Breakthroughs in Communication as Alzheimer’s Advances.”

  2. it’s important you brief the one who’ll be taking care of a loved one about his/her needs and behaviour. a dementia-stricken person must be understood and loved and you will be able to show this by accepting his/her condition as yours.

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