Did you know that when you place your relative into a nursing home and the facility receives federal funding from sources, such as Medicare, the residents are entitled to specific rights? The rights stem from federal statutes that were enacted back in the 1980s. Read on to learn about important nursing home rights.
- Right to Dignity and Right to Privacy: The right to dignity applies to all humans, but it’s especially significant in the nursing home setting due to the residents’ enhanced vulnerability. No one deserves to be humiliated, mocked, or belittled. And just because someone moves into a nursing home doesn’t mean that they’re no longer entitled to privacy; staff should not listen to private conversations between residents and visitors, read personal messages, rummage through personal belongings, or post resident content to social media without consent.
- Right to be Free from Abuse and Neglect: People shouldn’t be verbally harassed, psychologically intimidated, financially taken advantage of, or physically harmed or neglected. Residents enter nursing homes to be cared for and looked after, not abused.
- Right to be Free of Physical Restraints: Restraints can’t be used for punishment, as an alternative to treatment, or for the convenience of the staff. Alternatively, they should only be made by “approximately qualified professionals in keeping with the acceptable professional standards.” Unless residents pose a danger to themselves or others, then restraints aren’t allowed. Besides this rare exception, residents must be able to move freely.
- Right to be Free of Discrimination: Similar to standards held in workplaces, a resident shouldn’t be mistreated based on characteristics, including gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin.
- Right to Participate and Be Informed of Care Plan/Treatment: An example of this right is that the resident would have a conversation about changes to their medication dosage where they are fully informed of the course of action for their medical treatment, including risks and benefits.
- Right to Pecuniary Control: This is the right to have complete control of finances. All residents are free to have and spend their money as they see fit. Although it seems like money isn’t as immediate in a nursing home, residents must make decisions about subscriptions, gifts received during their visits, and whether they want to seek damages for lawsuits.
- Right to Visitation and Participation in Groups: Residents have the right to receive visitors during visiting hours and not be isolated from family, friends, and others. People in nursing homes tend to suffer from loneliness, so it’s important to stay connected and regularly engage with others for better mental health.
- Right to Complain Without Retaliation: Whether it’s the food or activities, or something more serious, a resident will have opinions about something that isn’t pleasing to them. This right gives them a chance to voice their concerns without fear of reprisal and with access to someone who will listen and hopefully do something about the complaint. If the facility doesn’t provide this, they can be investigated or fined.
- Right to Communicate Freely: It’s important that a resident feels comfortable expressing themselves and will speak up if there’s something wrong. The path to communication goes both ways, but residents should feel comfortable enough to engage with the staff.
- Protection from Unfair Transfer and Discharge: For instance, if a resident has a personal problem or ongoing issue with a specific member of the staff, that individual can’t just label someone as a “problem” and discharge or transfer them out of the facility.
Protect Nursing Home Residents’ Rights
As a nursing home resident, it’s important to know the rights that you’re entitled to. Bad things can happen behind closed doors at a nursing home, and if your rights or those of your loved one are being trampled, then you might pursue a case against the facility. Get started by talking to a trusted Walton Law attorney. Contact us today to see if you have a valid claim.