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?
Right to Dignity, Respect, and Freedom
As a resident of a nursing home, one has the right to be treated with consideration, respect, dignity, and to be free from abuse and neglect.
Right to Be Fully Informed
Residents should be fully informed of service charges, facility rules, and regulations, including a written copy of residents’ rights, in the resident’s preferred language. Any changes made by the nursing home, whether it be a room change or a plan of correction, should be reported to the resident.
Right to Complain
All residents have the right to present complaints to staff, ombudsman, and a state or certified agency without punishment (prompt efforts should be made to resolve those grievances).
Right to Participate in One’s Own Care
Residents have the right to review, plan, and refuse their own medical treatment and are entitled to: adequate and appropriate care; information regarding any changes in their medical condition(s); the opportunity to participate in their own assessment and discharge; and free treatment for services covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
Right to Privacy and Confidentiality
Skilled nursing facility residents are ensured privacy and confidentiality regarding any medical, personal, or financial affairs, and can choose to discuss private matters with any person of their choice.
Rights During Transfers and Discharge
A resident must receive a 30-day notice of transfer or discharge. The resident has the right to remain in the nursing facility unless a transfer or discharge is: necessary to meet the resident’s welfare; appropriate because the resident’s health has improved and she/he no longer requires nursing home care; needed to protect the health and safety of other residents or staff; required because the resident has failed, after reasonable notice, to pay the facility charge for an item or service provided at the resident’s request.
Rights to Visits
All visitors must be permitted to see the resident. However, the resident also has the right to refuse visitation. Permitted visitors include a resident’s personal physician and representatives from the state survey agency and ombudsman programs; relatives, friends, and others of the residents’ choosing; organizations or individuals providing health, social, legal, or other services.
Right to Make Independent Choices
Residents have the right to: make personal decisions, reasonable accommodations of one’s needs and preferences, participate in community activities, and manage one’s own financial affairs.
For more information about residents’ rights, advocates, public policy, and more talk to your Arkansas nursing home abuse lawyer or visit the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care.
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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When your loved one suffers an injury from abuse in a nursing home, you need someone. The team of nursing home injury lawyers at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton can help. Come by our office or call us to set up a free initial consultation.
We want to help you and your loved one through this ordeal. With eight offices in Arkansas and Tennessee – Little Rock, Little Rock-Corporate Hill, Springdale, Conway, Hot Springs, Bryant, Jacksonville, and Memphis—our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers are easily accessible when you need help.