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How to Complain the Right Way

Initial Steps
1. Talk to the staff in a non accusatory manner to let them know what the problem is.
2. Make sure not to antagonize them so they have no reasons to retaliate against you and label you a “danger,” which, in some states will ban you from the home.
3. Keep track of the conversation
4. If the situation is handled successfully, thank the staff members who helped out.

Next Steps
1. Complain in writing to the administrator of the home describing in detail the specific issues and your efforts thus far, maintaining an even handed and reasonable tone.
2. Keep all correspondence between you and the home 3. Involve your state ombudsman and request mediation from your ombudsman between you and the home.
4. Contact the state Department of Health to file a formal complaint. The Health Department will investigate.
5. If you are unsatisfied with the findings, you may need to hire an outside attorney and file a lawsuit.

Continuing the vigilance
1. Establish an independent family council with other resident’s relatives to voice your concerns collectively.
2. Continue to document the course of action the home follows and consult an independent advocate if you suspect retaliation.

For the Ladies’ Home Journal article.