Elder law

Skilled nursing facility will not allow patients to have food from the outside. This is a concern for one with constipation.

The facility does not serve fresh fruit, vegetables, or salads. It's always canned, cooked, or commercially prepared. A friend living there complains of constipation. Nurse said problem is taken care by colace or other chemical laxatives. There are better ways to deal with the problem. Perhaps I should bring up the concern to the attention of her conservator? What should the approach be?

Nathan’s Answer

One option may be the family council method of resolution:

Federal regulation §483.15(c), Participation in Resident and Family Groups, requires that:

- A resident’s family has the right to meet in the facility with families of other residents in the facility;

- The facility must provide a family group, if one exists, with private meeting space;

- Staff or visitors may attend meetings at the group’s invitation;

- The facility must provide a designated staff person responsible for providing assistance and responding to written requests that result from group meetings.

- When a family group exists, the facility must listen to the views and act upon the grievances and recommendations of families concerning proposed policy and operational decisions affecting resident care and life in the facility.

The following may be helpful: http://www.canhr.org/familycouncils/fc_organizing.htm

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