Federal law states that all nursing home residents have certain rights, which the nursing home must “protect and promote.” If a nursing home failed to protect and promote the rights of your loved one, it may be liable for any harm your loved one suffered.
If a nursing home violated your loved one’s basic rights, they may be entitled to compensation. Call Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer Co., L.P.A. today at 419-843-6663 to schedule a free consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer.
Nursing Home Resident Rights Under Federal Law
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provides a valuable download, “Your Rights and Protections as a Nursing Home Resident,” that informs nursing home residents and their families of their rights.
The Right to a Safe, Abuse-Free Environment
When you move in to a nursing home, you do not lose your basic human rights. No one has a right to abuse or neglect you.
If you are abused or neglected while living at a nursing home, contact the authorities and report it, or have a friend or loved one report it on your behalf. The nursing home must investigate reported abuse or neglect within five working days.
The nursing home cannot discriminate against you. If you meet its admissions criteria and they have an appropriate bed available, the nursing home may not deny you admission based solely upon your protected class. Protected classes include:
- National origin
The nursing home cannot deny you essential services. It must provide you with counseling, dispute resolution, assistance in contacting professionals, and planning for your discharge.
The nursing home cannot transfer or discharge you against your will, except for certain reasons. It can transfer or discharge you if:
- Your health condition no longer requires nursing home care;
- Your account at the nursing home is past due;
- The nursing home goes out of business;
- It is necessary for the health, safety, or welfare of yourself or others.
If the nursing home transfers or discharges you, it must inform the person of your choice.
You Have a Voice
Nursing homes often have groups of residents, called resident councils, which meet and discuss grievances. You have the right to participate in one. If the nursing home does not already have a resident council, you can create one.
In addition to allowing residents to join, the nursing home must also provide a meeting space for the group and address any of the group’s grievances and recommendations.
You can also make a complaint on your own; you do not have to be a part of the resident council. If you make a complaint against the nursing home or one of the employees, the nursing home cannot retaliate against you. The home must address your complaint within a reasonable amount of time.
You Have the Right to Receive Visitors and Communicate with People Outside the Home
Your family and friends can visit you in the nursing home. You have the right to privacy for these visits, if it does not interfere with other residents.
The nursing home cannot interfere with your mail, your email, or your telephone calls. It must also respect your privacy regarding your communications.
You Are Entitled to Quality Medical Care
The nursing home must properly inform you of your situation and the options available; it cannot use medical jargon to explain your situation if you will be unable to understand it. It is up to you to decide what treatment you will allow.
The nursing home may not force you to use a doctor; you can choose your own.
The nursing home cannot force you to undergo any treatments. You may refuse treatment.
In addition, the nursing home cannot keep you from reading your medical records.
The Nursing Home Must Keep Your Family and Legal Representative Involved, If You Wish
Your friends and family can be involved in your medical care and advocate for you on your behalf.
In addition to allowing your family to advocate for you, if your condition worsens; if you are injured; or if you otherwise need medical care, the nursing home must notify your doctor, legal representative, and/or family member.
You Can Move About as You Wish
The nursing home cannot prevent you from going out of the nursing for visits or excursions, unless your health or your doctor prohibits it. It is always a good idea to let the nursing home know a few days in advance, so it can get your medications and instructions organized and ready for you.
Staff cannot force you to stay in the nursing home against your will. You are a free adult, not an inmate. You can move out of the nursing home when you want to.
Staff members cannot use restraints (physical restraints or drugs) as a disciplinary measure or for the convenience of the staff.
You Have the Right to Live with Your Spouse
If you and your spouse are at the same nursing home, and you both want to share a room, the nursing home must allow you to do so. It cannot separate you against your will.
You Have the Right to Personal Property
The nursing home must allow you to have your own personal property in your room, and to enjoy it as you see fit, as long as you do not disturb others.
As a nursing home resident, you are not always in your room to safeguard your personal property. The nursing home has an obligation to protect you from theft.
You Have the Right to Socialize and Make Your Own Schedule
The nursing home cannot force you to participate in, or keep you away from, any of the social activities. You have a right to pick and choose the activities in which you participate.
You get to make decisions about your daily schedule. You get to decide when you get out of bed, when you eat your meals, and when you go to bed. The nursing home must treat you as an adult, with dignity and respect.
It Is Your Money — You Get to Manage It
You have the right to manage your money. It is your money, and you are an adult. If you prefer to have someone else manage your money, the nursing home must allow the person you choose to manage your money, if that person is willing to do so. The nursing home cannot block your access to your bank accounts, cash, or financial records.
What should I do if the nursing home violated my loved one’s rights?
If you believe a nursing home has violated your loved one’s rights, report it. Make sure that there is a paper trail of reports you have made.
This will make filing your claim for compensation much easier. Once you have reported the violation, call a lawyer at Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer Co., L.P.A. to schedule a free evaluation of your case: 419-843-6663.