Nursing Home Resident Rights: Know Them, Stand Up for Them

By Carmine Perri

Litigator_cartoonIf you or your loved one is in a nursing home, you need to know your rights! Once you understand what they are, you can better stand up for them.

Just as you are protected in your own home by a set of laws, residents of nursing homes are protected by a Code of Federal Regulations. The “Code” ensures that residents’ right are promoted and protected.

Unfortunately, there are times when this does not happen. And when this is the case, you need to make your voice heard.

But first, you must know your rights. Take a look below at some key resident rights that are often challenged. And let us know if you think they are being violated, we can help you.

  1. Access to records

When residents or their advocates request records pertaining to treatment sometimes they are told to put their request in writing and that it will take days to get their records. In fact, the nursing home is obligated by law, to provide residents with access to all their records within 24 hours.

  1. Filing complaints

Residents are supposed to be given a statement explaining that they or their advocates may file a complaint about their facility with the state or certification agency concerning abuse, neglect, misappropriation of resident property and non-compliance with advance directives requirements. Facilities must provide residents with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all state client advocacy groups where complaints can be filed. Don’t be shy, make your complaints known.

  1. Free from restraint or mistreatment

Residents have the right to be free from any physical or chemical restraints for purposes of discipline or convenience that are not required to treat the resident’s physical symptoms. They also will be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion. The facility must ensure that all violations are reported immediately and evidence must be shown that all alleged violations are thoroughly investigated and that corrective action is taken to prevent future abuses.

  1. Freedom to choose

Residents should be given the freedom to choose activities, schedules and health care consistent with his or her interests, assessments, and plans of care. They must be able to interact with members of the community, including family and friends, both inside and outside the facility. Some facilities limit visitations but this is contrary to the law. Visitors should have open and free access to residents at all times.

Long-term care facilities are in fact the home of their residents. They should be safe, clean and comfortable environments where residents can use their own belongings, count on clean linens, private closet space, comfortable lighting temperature and noise levels. This is not a lot to ask.

Regardless of whether the facility tells you or not, residents of nursing homes have many rights. But they don’t mean a thing unless you or your loved one stands-up for them.  Know your rights – you’ll be in a better position to make your voice heard when and if your rights are violated.

Related Posts:

What You Should Know Before Signing a Nursing Home Agreement

A Good Reason Not to Sign a Nursing Home Agreement

Long Term Care Facilities: Are You Being Treated Right?

The One Thing You Should Know About Your Stay in the Nursing Home: Money Follows the Person

Members of: