The Experience Of Living In A Nursing Home

29th June 2018

The Experience Of Living In A Nursing Home

Learning from complaints and concerns is key to service improvement. This week Richard Dixon, Complaints Services Manager for the PCC, explains why this is particularly important for people who are cared for in nursing homes.

On Tuesday the Patient and Client Council  launched a report called ‘The Experience of Living in a Nursing Home’.  It describes the experiences of people whom we have supported to make a complaint about care their family member received in a nursing home.  The main areas of concern related to medication, staffing levels and personal care.

When a person is admitted to a nursing home they rightly expect to be treated with care, compassion and dignity and in the majority of homes across Northern Ireland they receive exactly that.  Residents of nursing homes rarely ever complain themselves, issues around treatment and care are almost always raised by concerned family members or friends.  We hear that sometimes families wait until after their loved one has passed away to complain for fear that care will suffer as a result.  Furthermore we are aware that people are sometimes reluctant to complain because they worry their family member will be asked to leave the home, simply for raising a concern.

People also told us that they do not have faith in the way that homes investigate complaints.

The complaints process within nursing homes must to be more open and transparent.  Staff in care facilities need to foster a culture of openness to complaints and to use issues raised as a basis for learning and improvement.  People must feel confident that when they make a complaint they will be listened to, the complaint will be documented properly, investigated impartially and appropriate action taken.

Earlier this week we met with key decision makers from across Health and Social Care to highlight the findings of our report and discuss what action needs to be taken going forward.  You can read a copy of the report using the following link:

Do you have a family member or friend in a nursing home?  Do you feel confident that you could raise a concern, if you had one?  Do you have an example of best practice?  Tell us in the comments section below.

Remember, if you have a complaint or concern about the treatment and care of a loved one in a nursing home can contact the Patient and Client Council for confidential advice and support by calling 0800 917 0222 or emailing: