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What are Resident's Rights?

Residents’ Rights Guarantee Quality of Life

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law requires each nursing home to care for its residents in a manner that promotes and enhances the quality of life of each resident, ensuring dignity, choice, and self-determination. 

All nursing homes are required “to provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care that… is initially prepared, with participation, to the extent practicable of the resident, the resident’s family, or legal representative.” This means a resident should not decline in health or well-being as a result of the way the nursing facility provides care. 

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law Protects the following rights of nursing home residents:

The Right to Be Fully Informed of
•    Available services and the charges for each service
•    Facility rules and regulations, including a written copy of resident rights
•    Address and telephone number of the State Ombudsman and state survey agency
•    State survey reports and the nursing home’s plan of correction
•    Advance plans of a change in rooms or roommates 
•    Assistance if a sensory impairment exists
•    Residents have a right to receive information in a language they understand (Spanish, Braille, etc.)

Right to Complain
•    Present grievances to staff or any other person, without fear of reprisal and with prompt efforts by the facility to resolve those grievances
•    To complain to the ombudsman program
•    To file a complaint with the state survey and certification agency

Right to Participate in One’s Own Care
•    Receive adequate and appropriate care
•    Be informed of all changes in medical condition
•    Participate in their own assessment, care- planning, treatment, and discharge 
•    Refuse medication and treatment
•    Refuse chemical and physical restraints
•    Review one’s medical record
•    Be free from charge for services covered by Medicaid or Medicare 

Right to Privacy and Confidentiality 
•    Private and unrestricted communication with any person of their choice
•    During treatment and care of one’s personal needs
•    Regarding medical, personal, or financial affairs

Rights During Transfers and Discharges
•    Remain in the nursing facility unless a transfer or discharge:
•    (a) is necessary to meet the resident’s welfare:
•    (b) is appropriate because the resident’s health has improved and s/he no longer requires nursing home care:
•    (c) is needed to protect the health and safety of other residents or staff;
•    (d) is required because the resident has failed, after reasonable notice, to pay the facility charge for an item or service provided at the resident’s request
•    Receive thirty-day notice of transfer or discharge which includes the reason to appeal, and the name, address, and telephone number of the state long-term care ombudsman
•    Safe transfer or discharge through sufficient preparation by the nursing home

Right to Dignity, Respect, and Freedom
•    To be treated with consideration, respect, and dignity
•    To be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion, and physical and chemical restraints
•    To self- determination
•    Security of possessions

Rights to Visits
•    By a resident’s personal physician and representatives from the state survey agency and ombudsman programs
•    By relatives, friends and others of the residents’ choosing
•    By organizing or individuals providing health, social, legal or other services
•    Residents have the right to refuse visitors

Rights to Make Independent Choices 
•    Make personal decisions, such as what to wear and how to spend free time
•    Reasonable accommodation of one’s needs and preferences
•    Choose a physician
•    Participate in community activities, both inside and outside the nursing home
•    Organize and participate in a Resident Council
•    Manage one’s own financial affairs


Click here for the Annual Review of Patient’s Rights

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