Nursing home residents in have specific rights and protections granted to them by federal and state laws. Relevant federal laws include the federal Nursing Home Reform Law and the Older Americans Act. State laws vary, from Kentucky law that spells out “rights of residents, duties of facilities” to a recent Tennessee statute that places strict new limits on the rights of nursing home patients and their families to sue nursing homes for poor care.
Anyone who knows of abuse or neglect of an elderly person in a nursing home or elsewhere has a duty to report it to authorities. State officials can investigate complaints about nursing home abuse and neglect, and punish homes that violate patient’s rights.
Nursing home residents who have been abused or neglected, or their loved ones on their behalf, can take action through civil law, as well. Becker Law Office’s nursing home abuse attorneys are committed to helping residents receive the nursing home care that the law requires and patients deserve. If you have experienced abuse or neglect in a nursing home, contact us for assistance today.
The Law Protects Nursing Home Residents’ Rights
In the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program ensures that noncriminal allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults in nursing homes and similar long-term care facilities are investigated. These programs are governed by the federal Older Americans Act, which dates to 1965 and was amended in 1987 to include the Nursing Home Reform Amendments.
Trained ombudsmen in each state’s office are to assist and advise nursing home residents or concerned citizens who have questions or problems about a nursing home. These offices also take formal complaints, which they are to investigate and refer to authorities for criminal or civil action, if warranted. If a nursing home resident is in danger, local law enforcement agencies can be notified to intervene and/or take the resident into protective care.
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse can be hidden or obscured by excuses or misinformation when family members or state investigators make inquiries. Government offices, which serve a large region or the entire state, may prove to be slow or unsatisfactory in their response to inquiries and complaints.
Federal law specifically says that a resident should not decline in health or well being because of how a nursing facility provides care to them. Nursing homes are required to establish a written plan of care for each resident with as much participation as is practicable from the resident, the resident’s family and/or their legal representative.
Rights granted to residents under the Nursing Home Reform Amendments of 1987 include:
- The right to be fully informed of the nursing home’s services and their costs, as well as the rules and regulations of the home. If the home plans to change the resident’s rooms or roommates, the home is to notify the resident in advance.
- The right to dignity, respect and freedom. Nursing home residents are to be treated with consideration, and to be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion, and physical and chemical restraints. A resident retains the right to self-determination and to the security of their possessions.
- The right to complain without fear of reprisal and assurance of prompt response by the nursing home’s staff. Residents should not be hindered if they want to complain to their state’s long-term care ombudsman or nursing home certification agency.
- The right to participate in their own care. This includes receiving proper medical care, being advised of changes in their condition, and having the right to refuse any treatment or medication, including chemical and physical restraints.
- The right to maintain privacy and confidentiality about medical, personal or financial affairs, as well as in their interpersonal communications.
- The right to remain in the nursing facility unless a transfer or discharge meets conditions (health, safety or financial) defined by the law. A resident is to receive a 30-day notice of transfer or discharge that explains the circumstances and effective date, and may appeal a transfer or discharge decision.
- The right to visits by relatives, friends, doctors, service organizations and others of the resident’s choosing, or to decline such visits.
- The right to make independent choices regarding what to wear, how to spend free time, participation in community activities, choice of a physician, and management of their financial affairs. Residents have a right to reasonable accommodation to assist them in meeting their needs and preferences. Residents may organize and participate in a Residents’ Council.
State laws in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee reiterate rights for nursing home residents that are similar to those provided by federal law.
At Becker Law Office, we understand the rights of nursing home residents. We fight to ensure that nursing home residents receive the care they are entitled to by law.
Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Protect Residents Rights
If a loved one of yours is being subjected to abuse or neglect at a nursing home or similar long-term care facility in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, or Tennessee, you can take prompt action by contacting Becker Law Office in Louisville or Lexington, KY. We can investigate your suspicions without delay. We may be able to obtain compensation an abused or neglected nursing home resident is due for medical care, pain and suffering or other losses.
Please contact us today to arrange a free consultation about your case and the assistance we can provide to you and your loved one.
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