Tips For Resolving Conflicts

If a problem or conflict arises, communication and documentation are crucial.

  • Communicate your concerns to the right people. See our Fact Sheet on Nursing Home Concerns: Where to go for help.
  • Go up the chain of command. If speaking to the attendant/staff person most directly involved is not successful, work your way up. Speak to the supervisor, the administrator/director/manager of the agency or facility, and, if necessary, the person to whom the administrator/director/manager reports.
  • Put your concerns in writing. Document details about the problem including each time the problem occurs, who was involved, and how the facility responded. Document all conversations. Keep copies of all correspondence
  • Remember that speaking up often results in better care and services rather than in retaliation. Frequently the "squeaky wheel" really does get the "grease".
  • Follow the agency/facility policy for grievances. The strength of this approach is that you are using the provider's own process. You can usually express your concern orally or in writing. If you voice your complaint verbally, it is a good idea to also submit it in writing.
  • Ask for a special care plan meeting to discuss your concerns. Make sure that someone with the authority to change things attends.
  • Unite with others who share the same concern.
  • Be calm, polite, and persistent.

Additional information on resolving conflicts and communicating effectively is available in our Consumer Guide to Long-Term Care and in our Fact Sheet on Self Advocacy.