You have rights and protections as a nursing home resident.
As a nursing home resident, you have certain rights and protections under Federal and state law that ensure you get the care and services you need. In a nutshell, you have the right to be informed, make your own decisions, and have your personal information kept private.
Federal law specifies you have the following rights:
- Be treated with respect. You have the right to make your own schedule for when you rise until when you go to bed and to choose the activities you want to participate in.
- Be free from discrimination. Facilities must comply with Civil Rights laws.
- Be free from abuse and neglect. You have the right to be free from verbal, physical and mental abuse.
- Be free from restraints. This includes side rails and chemical restraints.
- Make complaints. You can make a complaint without fear of punishment.
- Get proper medical care. You have the right to be involved in your choice of a doctor and be fully informed of your health status.
- Have your legal representative or family member notified. If you have an accident or your health status changes your family member is notified.
- Get information on services and fees. You have a right to receive information on Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
- Managing money. You must be allowed access to your bank accounts, cash, etc.
- Get proper privacy. You have a right to phone calls, private visits and mail. You may also share a room with your spouse if he or she is in the nursing home.
- Spend time with visitors. You may have visitors at any time, if it doesn’t interfere with other residents or the provision of care.
- Social services. You have a right to counseling, to contact legal and financial professionals, and to get help solving problems with other residents.
- Leaving the nursing home. You may leave to visit family or friends overnight. You may also choose to move out of the nursing home.
- Protection against unfair transfer or discharge. You can’t be sent to another nursing home or discharged unless it is necessary for your welfare, health and safety.
- Resident groups. You have a right to participate in ‘resident councils’ to air grievances.
- Have family and friends involved. Family, friends, and your legal representative can help make sure you get good quality care.
The goal of nursing homes is to help the residents feel comfortable and well taken care of and to make sure that their rights are protected. Your desires and decisions matter. If you have any nursing home concerns, our office is available to help and to work with facilities to ensure you receive quality care.
Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all of Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.