Nursing Home Residents’ Rights
Nursing homes are required to provide residents with a safe, clean and healthy environment. Residents have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Nursing home residents also have the right to freedom from abuse, neglect and mistreatment. They are entitled to privacy and can use their own personal belongings as long as they don’t create a health or safety problem for themselves or others.
Nursing home residents have a right to live in a safe and healthy environment.
Nursing home residents have a right to live in a safe and healthy environment. Safety is a primary concern, encompassing both physical environments and environmental hazards. The physical environment must be safe for residents and staff alike, including adequate lighting, fire alarms, smoke detectors and sprinklers. Environmental hazards like mold or pests can pose serious risks to your health as well as that of other residents if left unchecked by nursing home staff members with expertise in these areas.
Nursing home residents have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
As a nursing home resident, you have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. This is not just an ethical or moral precept; it’s actually guaranteed by law. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 both guarantee that nursing home residents are protected from any discrimination or harassment based on their race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity), age (40 years old or older), religion and physical disability.
The right to be treated with dignity and respect includes:
- Being free from verbal abuse
- Having access to services such as meals on request, private rooms if requested
Residents have the right to freedom from abuse, neglect and mistreatment.
- Abuse (physical force)
- Neglect (failure to provide adequate care)
- Mistreatment (any act or omission that causes injury or pain)
These are all forms of elder abuse.
Residents are entitled to privacy.
Residents have the right to privacy. They may not be forced to leave their room against their will, participate in group activities, or share their room with anyone.
The nursing home staff should respect residents’ rights and maintain secrecy about personal matters. The resident’s social worker can advise you on how to protect your loved one’s right to privacy if there are concerns about this issue.
Residents have the right to use their own personal belongings, including clothing, furniture and other items as long as they don’t create a health or safety problem for themselves or others.
Residents have the right to use their own personal belongings, including clothing, furniture and other items as long as they don’t create a health or safety problem for themselves or others. Personal belongings do not include large items such as furniture and appliances. Some examples of personal belongings are:
- Electronic devices (such as cell phones)
Residents can choose their own physician and continue their relationship with him/her if they transfer to another facility.
Although the patient’s physician is not required to disclose the diagnosis or treatment plan, the resident can ask for it. The patient’s physician may refuse to provide it.
If you choose a new nursing home, your doctor will be given access to your medical records as needed for evaluation and care planning purposes. Your insurance carrier may pay for continued health care services provided by your current physician instead of transferring them to another health care provider in your new residence.
Residents are entitled to adequate health care.
Residents are entitled to adequate health care. The nursing home is responsible for providing this care, but residents have rights as well. Residents have the right to:
- Receive a copy of their resident rights and responsibilities
- Make decisions about their own health care (with certain exceptions)
Residents must be told about any changes in their medical condition.
Residents also have rights regarding their medical care. For example, health care providers must inform residents and their families about changes in the residents’ condition, including the possibility of death. If a resident is unable to understand what is being said, or cannot make decisions on his own behalf, it is up to the provider to find ways to make sure that information is understandable and the resident’s wishes are followed.
Residents may participate in resident and family groups that advocate for their rights and quality of care.
It is important to understand that resident and family groups are essential to the quality of care in nursing homes. Not only do they provide a voice for residents who may otherwise be unable to advocate for themselves, but they also help improve the quality of life for residents. Nursing homes can partner with resident and family groups by:
- Providing opportunities for residents to participate in activities that support their interests and needs
- Giving residents access to information about what services are available within the facility or community (such as transportation, meals, entertainment events)
- Partnering with resident and family groups so you can learn from each other how you can improve together
Nursing homes may not discriminate against residents based on race, color, religion, national origin or gender.
Nursing homes are prohibited from discriminating against residents based on race, color, religion and national origin.
Discrimination based on gender is also illegal. This includes refusing to provide services to a resident who needs them due to their gender or providing them in a different manner because of that resident’s gender. For example, if a female nursing home resident has been sexually assaulted while ill in bed and wants another staff member present during her baths until she feels safe again, the nursing home must accommodate her request unless doing so would cause undue hardship (e.g., requiring a male employee to be present for women-only activities).
Nursing home residents have a lot of rights that are designed to protect them from discrimination and neglect.
The federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 established a set of rights for nursing home residents. These rights were designed to protect them from discrimination and neglect. Although each state has its own laws on how these rights should be enforced, most agree that nursing home residents have the right to:
- Be treated with dignity and respect
- Be free from abuse, neglect and mistreatment
- Enjoy privacy in their rooms, including the right to receive visitors at all times unless they specifically request otherwise
- Keep their own personal belongings with them unless there is an emergency situation or it is unsafe for them to do so (such as having sharp objects)
- Adequate health care provided by qualified staff members
As you can see, nursing home residents have a lot of rights that are designed to protect them from discrimination and neglect. The point of this article was not to scare you away from living in a nursing home. Instead, we wanted to make sure that you understand what your rights are so that if anything does go wrong, you know how to handle it.