Understanding The Nursing Home Resident’s Bill Of Rights

Nursing homes are required under federal law to give all residents a copy of their rights before or at the time they are admitted. Residents’ rights exist to ensure a high quality of life for elders and have existed since the 1980’s when concerns about neglect and poor quality of care in nursing homes led to resident-focused regulations.

In 1980, the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act was passed to protect residents of nursing homes and similar facilities. Then, in 1987, a group of amendments known as the Federal Nursing Home Reform act were added, including one section on nursing home residents’ rights.

These new rights required nursing homes to provide facilities and care that ensured residents had a high quality of life and were able to get the care and services they needed. Nursing homes must meet the requirements outlined in the residents’ rights if they participate in Medicare or Medicaid. On the contrary, nursing homes that receive only state funds may not have to abide by the “bill of rights.”

What are the Residents’ Rights?

The nursing home residents’ rights as described in the Federal Nursing Home Reform act entitle residents, at the minimum, the right to:

  • Be treated with respect
  • Participate in activities
  • Be free from discrimination, abuse, neglect and restraints
  • Make complaints
  • Get proper medical care
  • Have their representative notified in the event of a complication or health event, or other change
  • Get information on services and fees
  • Manage their money
  • Get proper privacy, property and living arrangements
  • Spend time with visitors
  • Get social services
  • Leave the nursing home
  • Have protection against unfair transfer or discharge
  • Form or participate in resident groups
  • Have their family and friends involved

What Happens if a Nursing Home Fails to Meet these Rights?

 If you feel that the residents’ rights of a loved one have been violated, the nursing home may be contributing to nursing home neglect by breaching their duty of care to the resident. Call a nursing home neglect lawyer to discuss the signs of nursing home problems and what legal options are available to you.

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