Federal law requires all nursing homes to protect and promote the rights of their residents. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes fulfill this important responsibility. If a nursing home has violated your loved one’s basic rights, they may have suffered harm that entitles them to compensation. We invite you to schedule a free consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault to discuss your legal options. Our experienced attorneys understand the complex laws surrounding nursing home abuse and neglect, and we are committed to holding negligent facilities accountable for their actions. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today.


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 


Regardless of age, every person deserves to live in a safe and abuse-free environment, especially in nursing homes. Fortunately, when starting a new chapter in senior care, you don’t have to give up your basic human rights. Sadly, there are incidences where abuse or neglect may occur. However, remember that you are never alone, and there is always a way to seek help. Don’t be afraid to speak out or ask someone for assistance. You can contact the authorities or reach out to a loved one, knowing there are protocols to investigate any reported abuse or neglect properly. Rest assured that your safety and well-being are of the utmost importance and should never be compromised.


The nursing home cannot discriminate against you.


Nursing homes offer round-the-clock care to elderly individuals who require it. It’s important to note that if you meet their admissions criteria and they have an available bed, the nursing home cannot solely deny you admission based on your protected class, which includes factors such as race, national origin, color, age, religion, or disability. Nursing homes must comply with state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on these protected classes. As a professional in the industry, ensuring fair treatment and equal opportunities for all potential residents to receive the necessary care is crucial.


The nursing home cannot deny you essential services.


You have the right to access essential services crucial to your well-being. These services may include counseling to help you cope with any emotional or psychological issues that may arise during your stay, dispute resolution to address any conflicts or concerns you may have with staff or other residents, and assistance in contacting healthcare professionals when necessary. The nursing home must also work with you to create a discharge plan to ensure a smooth transition out of the facility when the time comes. Remember, these services are not optional, and the nursing home cannot deny you access to them.


Transfers or discharges you against your will


The nursing home cannot transfer or discharge you against your will except for specific reasons. It can only transfer or discharge you if:

– You no longer require nursing home care due to your health condition.
– Your account at the nursing home is past due.
– The nursing home goes out of business.
– It is necessary for your health, safety, or welfare, or that of others.

If the nursing home transfers or discharges you, it must inform the person you have chosen.


You Have a Voice


Navigating nursing homes can be challenging due to the numerous rules and regulations in place. However, it’s crucial to remember that residents have rights, including actively participating in a resident council. These groups regularly meet to discuss grievances and recommendations with the nursing home staff. If a nursing home doesn’t have a resident council, residents have the ability to start one. Additionally, residents can independently make complaints, and the nursing home cannot retaliate against them for doing so. Nursing homes must provide meeting spaces for resident councils, take the group’s recommendations and grievances seriously, and promptly address any complaints made by individual residents.


You Have the Right to Receive Visitors and Communicate with People Outside the Home


As a nursing home resident, you have the right to receive visitors and communicate with people outside of the home. Your family and friends are welcome to visit you, and the nursing home must respect your privacy during these visits as long as it does not interfere with the well-being of other residents. Additionally, you have the right to privacy when receiving and sending mail, email, or phone calls. The nursing home cannot interfere with your communications or violate your privacy in any way. Make sure to know and exercise your rights as a resident to ensure your comfort and happiness in your home away from home.


You Are Entitled to Quality Medical Care 


As an individual receiving care in a nursing home, you have the right to expect quality medical care. The nursing home should keep you informed about your situation and the available options in a language you can understand. You can choose your own doctor and decide on the treatments you want. The nursing home cannot force you to undergo any treatment. You also have the right to access and review your medical records. Your family can be involved in your care and advocate for you. If there are any major changes in your condition or if you need medical attention, the nursing home must inform your doctor, legal representative, and family member. Your welfare is of utmost importance, and the nursing home must protect your rights and always keep you informed.


You Can Move About as You Wish


As a nursing home resident, it’s important to know that you have the freedom to move about as you please. You are not an inmate but rather a free adult with the right to come and go as long as your health and doctor permit. Please inform the nursing home in advance of any outings or visits so they can prepare your medications and instructions accordingly. Remember that staff members cannot discipline or restrain you physically or through drugs for their convenience. Rest assured, you have the right to explore the world on your own terms.


You Have the Right to Live with Your Spouse


Every individual deserves the right to live with their significant other, regardless of age or health status. If you and your spouse reside in a nursing home, you have the legal right to share a room and spend your days together, supporting each other through life’s challenges. Nursing homes should not separate partners; they must uphold the rights of those in their care and respect everyone’s rights and dignity. The law mandates that couples are allowed to live together in these facilities.


You Have the Right to Personal Property


All nursing home residents possess the right to personal property. This implies that you can bring your belongings into your room and enjoy them without worrying about interference or theft. It is crucial to remember that while the nursing home ensures the safety of your property, you also have a responsibility to respect your fellow residents. This entails being mindful of not disturbing others with your belongings or behavior. Ultimately, your personal property is an integral part of your identity, and you should feel comfortable and secure in your living space.


You Have the Right to Socialize and Make Your Own Schedule 


It’s important to remember that you have the right to socialize and make your own schedule. You can choose to participate in or decline social activities as you see fit, and the nursing home cannot force you into anything you don’t want to do. Similarly, you have control over your daily schedule, from waking up and eating meals to going to bed. This is your home; the nursing home staff should respect and honor your independence as a capable adult.


It Is Your Money — You Get to Manage It


As a responsible adult, you have the right to manage your finances actively. It’s your hard-earned money, and you should be able to handle it independently or choose someone you trust. Even if you reside in a nursing home, you can still exercise your right to financial management as long as you are of sound mind. The nursing home should respect your decisions and authorize your chosen person to handle your money if desired. It’s crucial to have access to your financial records, cash, and bank accounts. Managing your money is your responsibility, and exercising that responsibility is your right.


What should I do if the nursing home violated my loved one’s rights?


If you suspect that your loved one’s rights have been violated while in the care of a nursing home, it is important to take action. To begin, report the incident to the appropriate authorities and meticulously document your efforts to address the situation. Maintaining a detailed record will be beneficial when seeking compensation for damages. Additionally, consult an experienced attorney specializing in nursing home abuse cases to receive legal guidance. We provide a free evaluation at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault to help you understand your legal options. Don’t hesitate to seek assistance for your loved one – contact our office today at 419-843-6663 or by using our online form.