Nursing home residents have important rights under
both federal and state law. Nursing homes laws
require that they educate their residents on their
rights and to assist them in exercising them.
In the case that a resident is unable to understand
or execute their rights, the decision-making ability
for the resident is transferred to whomever the
law deems the most suitable individual to make
decisions for the resident.
If a nursing home fails to comply with federal
resident rights, they can lose their Medicare
or Medicaid certification and funding. As well,
federal and/or state surveyors can sanction facilities
and homes that are not in compliance with federal
rules and regulations.
The following is a summary of rights as outlined
in the Federal Nursing Home Reform Law that was
part of the 1987 Social Security Act. This law
was enacted in order to "promote and protect
the rights of each resident."
Nursing home residents have the right to receive
reasonable accommodations for their needs and
Residents should always be notified of room
changes or roommate changes.
Residents can make choices about facility factors
that are of importance to them.
Facilities must provide social activities that
reflect the interests of the nursing home residents.
and Visitation Rights
Residents may receive or deny visitors.
Nursing home facilities must allow visitation
rights with any state or federal agency
that provides health, social, or legal
No facility may require a third party guarantee
of payment or accept any gifts as a condition
of residence staying there. They may accept
contributions to their facility only if they
do not influence admission or continued stay.
Nursing home facilities may not require residents
to waive their right to receive or apply for
Medicare or Medicaid benefits.
Facility may charge those residents who are
Medicaid-eligible for requested services or
Individual residents will be treated with dignity
and respect by the facility and their staff.
home residents have the freedom to exercise
their rights as residents, and as a citizen
of the United States without fear of discrimination,
restraint, interference, coercion or reprisal.
If an individual is unable to act on their
own behalf, those rights can be exercised
by whoever is appointed under state law
to act on their behalf.
Access to Quality Care
Facilities must use identical policies when
transferring and discharging residents.
When written notice is provided at time of admission,
the nursing home facility may determine the
charges for a non-Medicaid resident.
Facilities must provide an environment that
is safe, clean, comfortable, and as close to
a normal home as is reasonable.
Facilities must provide housekeeping and maintenance
Residences will be provided with clean, adequate
baths and bed linens.
Residences will be provided with reasonable
and private closet space.
Facilities must provide residences with adequate
and comfortable lighting and sound levels.
Facilities will provide comfortable and safe
Residents may choose their own physician(s).
Residents may participate in their own care
Grievances may be voiced without fear of discrimination
or reprisal. The resolution of these grievances
will be made promptly.
Residents shall have access to survey results
and a plan of correction. These will be posted
in a readily accessible place.
Residents may contact client advocate agencies
and receive information from them.
Facilities must provide a level of care that
enhances the quality of life.
Facilities will promptly send and receive resident
mail unopened. Residents will have access to
writing materials and supplies.
Married couples may share a room.
of Bed-Hold Policy
Family members and residents are to receive
written notice of state and facility bed-hold
policies before and at the time of a transfer.
of Rights and Services
Facilities will inform residents in both
written and oral form of all of their
rights, the applicable rules, and all
regulations regarding conduct and responsibilities.
Residence may inspect and purchase duplicate
copies of their health records.
Facilities are obligated to keep residents
up-to-date and informed as to their state
Residents maintain the right to refuse
medical treatment, as well as the right
to refuse experimental treatment(s).
Residents will be notified of their Medicare
and Medicaid benefits. This will be accessible
in an appropriate location.
A facility must inform residents of applicable
services and charges.
Facilities will inform its residents how
to protect personal funds.
Facility inform those who live there of
any changes in their condition or any
decisions of transfer or discharge. Facilities
must notify a resident's physician and/or
interested family member.
The facility will notify their residents
and interested family members of room
or roommate changes.
Residents may refuse room changes that
A facility must notify its residents or
certain family members of any changes
in the rights provided.
in Resident Groups
Residents may participate in any groups that
do not violate any laws.
Facilities need to provide appropriate spaces
for groups and meetings.
If invited by a group or meeting, staff and
others may attend the meeting.
A nursing home facility will adequately address
any concerns of a group.
in Other Activities
Residents can participate in any activities
as long as they do not violate the rights of
Residents may handle their own financial dealings.
Residents do not have to deposit their own monies
to the facilities.
Any funds that are deposited to the facility
will be handled with the best interests of the
Deposited funds with the facility will be protected
by a security bond.
Deposited funds will not be intermixed with
the funds of the facility.
Upon request, the facility must provide a quarterly,
personalized financial report.
Remaining assets of an estate will be handled
as the resident sees fit.
Personal property is to be retained and used
by the resident as they wish as long as space
Facilities are not allowed to use physical restraints,
nor are they allowed to use psychoactive drugs,
on residence for either discipline or as a simple
convenience. These can only be used if they
are for the purpose of treating legitimate medical
Residents have the right of privacy of personal
and health records.
Family or group meetings
Residents have the right to refuse or
release their own records if transferred
or any other applicable reason
Medicinal drugs may be self-administered as
long as they are deemed safe by the interdisciplinary
Facilities must provide those social services
that protect or bolster resident's well being.
Facilities must be equipped to protect its residents
abuse, neglect, and theft.
If staff abuse or neglect is suspected or alleged,
facilities must investigate the incident and
report it to the proper personnel.
Residents must be allowed to use the telephone
and discharges can only made if the facility is
Meet the specific needs of a resident
Protect the safety of a resident
In addition, transfers and discharges can only
be made if the resident:
No longer needs the services
Is unable to make the proper payments
Residents must be notified of transfers or discharges
at least 30 days before they are to occur. The
only exceptions are in cases of health or safety
Facilities will provide residents with safe
transfers or a discharge.
Residents may refuse to perform services for
Any services provided by a resident must be
recorded in detail, including the type of work
done and the compensation paid.
If the safety and health of your loved one is in jeopardy, and you feel that they have suffered some form of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact us to speak with an attorney.