Home Resident Rights
home residents have rights too
residents in nursing homes have no lesser rights than anyone else,
the combination of an institutional setting and the disability
that put the person in the facility in the first place often
results in a loss of dignity and the absence of proper care.
a result, in 1987 Congress enacted the Nursing Home Reform Law
that has since been incorporated into the Medicare and Medicaid
regulations. In its broadest terms, it requires that every nursing
home resident be given whatever services are necessary to function
at the highest level possible. The law gives residents a number of
have the right to be free of unnecessary physical or chemical
restraints. Vests, hand mitts, seat belts and other physical
restraints, and anti-psychotic drugs, sedatives, and other
chemical restraints are impermissible, except when authorized
by a physician, in writing, for a specified and limited period
assist residents, facilities must inform them of the name,
specialty, and means of contacting the physician responsible
for the resident's care. Residents have the right to
participate in care planning meetings.
a resident experiences any deterioration in health, or when a
physician wishes to change the resident's treatment, the
facility must inform the resident, and the resident's
physician, legal representative or interested family member.
resident has the right to gain access to all his or her
records within one business day, and a right to copies of
those records at a cost that is reasonable in that community.
The facility must explain how to examine these records, or how
to transfer the authority to obtain records to another person.
facility must provide a written description of legal rights,
explaining state laws regarding living wills, durable powers
of attorney for health care and other advance directives,
along with the facility's policy on carrying out these
the time of admission and during the stay, nursing homes must
fully inform residents of the services available in the
facility, and of related charges. Nursing homes may charge for
services and items in addition to the basic daily rate, but
only if they already have disclosed which services and items
will incur an additional charge, and how much that charge will
resident has a right to privacy, which is a right that extends
to all aspects of care, including care for personal needs,
visits with family and friends, and communication with others
through telephone and mail. Residents thus must have areas for
receiving private calls or visitors so that no one may intrude
and to preserve the privacy of their roommates
have the right to share a room with a spouse, gather with
other residents without staff present, and meet state and
local nursing home ombudsperson or any other agency
representatives. They may leave the nursing home, or belong to
any church or social group. Within the home, residents have a
right to manage their own financial affairs, free of any
requirement that they deposit personal funds with the
also can get up and go to bed when they choose, eat a variety
of snacks outside meal times, decide what to wear, choose
activities, and decide how to spend their time. The nursing
home must offer a choice at main meals, because individual
tastes and needs vary. Residents, not staff, determine their
hours of sleep and visits to the bathroom. Residents may
may bring personal possessions to the nursing home such as
clothing, furnishings and jewelry. Residents may expect staff
to take responsibility for assisting in the protection of
items or locating lost items, and should inquire about
facility policies for replacing missing items. Residents
should expect kind, courteous, and professional behavior from
staff. Staff should treat residents like adults.
home residents may not be moved to a different room, a
different nursing home, a hospital, back home or anywhere else
without advance notice, an opportunity for appeal and a
showing that such a move is in the best interest of the
resident or necessary for the health of other nursing home
resident has a right to be free of interference, coercion,
discrimination, and reprisal in exercising his or her rights.
Being assertive and identifying problems usually brings good
results, and nursing homes have a responsibility not only to
assist residents in raising individual concerns, but also to
respond promptly to those concerns.
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They are not and should not be considered legal opinions or
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