Who do you turn to for answers at a nursing home?

Since 1990, all nursing homes are required by federal regulation to have a medical director. The  medical director has dual roles as both a physician and the administrator of the nursing home. In most nursing homes, it is common for the medical director to care for some percentage of the residents, typically ranging from 10% to 40% of the resident population.  The medical director is responsible for the medical care provided in the nursing home.

Who is responsible for medical care at a nursing home?

The medical director is the "attending physician" for many of the residents in the nursing home, but his chief responsibility is the coordination of medical care in the nursing home.  This means that if something goes wrong, the medical director is the person at the facility who you turn to for answers.

The medical director, for example, must ensure that there is continuous medical coverage available for the nursing home residents, i.e., if the medical director is not available to provide treatment to a resident, he ensures that another physician is available to attend to the resident's needs.  The medical director must ensure that there is emergency coverage by a physician in case a resident needs emergency medical treatment.

The medical director is responsible for ensuring that the nursing home has policies and procedures for infection-control surveillance, efforts to reduce the risk of falls and use of restraints, adequacy of nutrition, hydration and skin-integrity programs and quality improvement analysis.  Additionally, the medical director should be able to answer your questions about the average number of admissions to the nursing home per month and the average length of resident stay (LOS). 

When you have concerns about the quality of care provided to a family member at a nursing home, you want to speak with the person at the top, namely, the medical director.  Even if the medical director is not the "attending physician" for your loved one, he/she is responsible for coordinating all medical care in a nursing home.  The medical director is the person you should turn to for answers.

If you want more information, I welcome your phone call

If you would like more information about protecting a family member in a nursing home, I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 866-889-6882 or you can request a free copy of my book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, which will be mailed to you or sent as an e-book.