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The facility my mom just moved into frequently has aides answer the phone, rather than an office staff member or receptionist. If I ask for someone, like the nurse in charge of my mother's care plan, or another mgmt staff member, and they aren't available right then, I have to leave a message. I rarely hear back. And I usually have to spell everything out for the person taking the message. They don't respond to emails in a timely fashion, and only a few have voicemail. At night and on the weekend, I can't reach anyone but an aide. Because I work during the days and hours the mgmt staff are there, the phone is usually the only way I can contact them. Does anyone else run into this?

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Yes it is common. In fact I would say it's the norm, and it used to drive me up the wall. All you can do is close your eyes and count to ten and try again; because if the facility is a good one then the reason the staff are not answering the phone [thinks: PICK UP THE DAM-AND-BLAST PHONE WILL YOU!!!] is that they're busy looking after residents. Which is what they're meant to be doing… sigh...
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Thanks for all your input. I am my mom's POA. The reason for the phone calls is varied, and mostly related to getting details set up and verifying her care plan. They just changed owners from Emeritas to Brookdale, and the transition has caused some confusion in their office. My mom is also ill and her doctor just retired, so I was trying to get her set up with the doctor through the facility. I guess I am just frustrated because my best time to talk is evenings and weekends, and that is their worst time. I did finally get hold of her care nurse today, and she has email set up, so that will be easier.
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gladimhere is on target. When the patient signs in, they authorize one and only one person in the family to contact about her care, usually the POA. At first, we had monthly meetings with the head nurse, by appointment, to review mom's activities and medical needs. Other than that, we didn't need to call them for much. Set up a regular appointment if you are the POA.
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Barbara, do you have mom's POA? I experience the same issue and am not the POA. What I have to settle for is to leave messages, express my concerns, and hope they will be addressed. This has happened with stepdad alot, not with mom as she is in memory care and dysfunction abounds in my family. But with SD the facility has been very good to get things taken care of for him as he will call and let me know.
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If you mother is in a large Assisted Living community, they are normally more responsive but you will need to leave a message. If you mother is in a smaller, what we call a Board and Care Home, the administrator is not normally at the facility and caregivers often have difficulty taking messages.

If you mother just moved into the community, why are you calling and asking questions so frequently? You mother needs time to adjust and both you mother and the staff need time to get to know one another
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I have had direct experience with only two AL facilities. One of them frequently had no one answer the phone. You had to leave a voice message and normally no one would return the call. They did not handle this well, IMO. My loved one was not there for long. They did not use email to communicate at all.

The place she is at now, always answers the phone and it is usually the director or the patient care coordinator. If they are not available, you are not allowed to leave a message, but must return the call later. That isn't often though. On weekends, it's the floor staff that answers the phone. I haven't had any emergencies on the weekends, but they will contact anyone if I need them. They do not use email either.

The only thing I can figure is that there are HIPAA guidelines they don't want to violate. That's all I can think of.

When I was researching various AL facilities and I would call them first, most all of them had a receptionist or office staff answer the phone in a professional manner.
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The ALF I've had experience with had a phone operator after hours...a receptionist might be more descriptive. I often had to leave a message for the Director of Nursing, as an example. If I didn't hear back by 10:30 AM, I would call again. I would be very leery of a facility that didn't have voicmail for key people.

I very rarely called though. Most concerns were expressed in person.

Another thought. You say mom just moved in. How come so many phone calls?
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