Resident Rights and Protections
What are my rights in a nursing home?
As a resident of a nursing
home, you have all the same rights and protections of all United States
citizens. Nursing home residents have certain rights and protections
under the law. They can vary by State.
nursing home must provide you with a written description of your legal
rights. Keep the information you get about your rights, admission
and transfer policies, and any other information you get from the
nursing home in case you need to look at them later.
At a minimum, Federal law specifies that a nursing home resident's
||Freedom from Discrimination: Nursing homes do not have to
accept all applicants, but they must comply with Civil Rights
laws that do not allow discrimination based on race, color,
national origin, disability, age, or religion under certain
conditions. If you believe you have been discriminated against,
call the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of
Civil Rights at 1-800-368-1019. TTY users should call
||Respect: You have the right to be treated with dignity and
respect. As long as it fits your care plan, you have the right
to make your own schedule, including when you go to bed, rise in
the morning, and eat your meals. You have the right to choose
the activities you want to go to.
||Freedom from Abuse and Neglect: You have the right to be free from
verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, and involuntary
seclusion by anyone. This includes, but is not limited to
nursing home staff, other residents, consultants, volunteers,
staff from other agencies, family members or legal guardians,
friends, or other individuals.
If you feel you have
been abused or neglected (your needs not met), report this to
the nursing home, your family, your local Long-Term Care
Ombudsman, or State Survey Agency. It may be appropriate to
report the incident of abuse to local law enforcement or the
Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (their telephone number should be
posted in the nursing home).
||Freedom from Restraints: Physical restraints are any
manual method or physical or mechanical device, material, or
equipment attached to or near your body so that you can't remove
the restraint easily. They prevent freedom of movement or normal
access to one's own body.
A chemical restraint
is a drug used to limit freedom of movement and is not needed to
treat your medical symptoms. It is against the law for a nursing
home to use physical or chemical restraints, unless it is
necessary to treat your medical symptoms. Restraints may not be
used to punish nor for the convenience of the nursing home
staff. You have the right to refuse restraint use except if you
are at risk of harming yourself or others.
||Information on Services and Fees: You must be informed in writing
about services and fees before you move into the nursing home.
The nursing home cannot require a minimum entrance fee as a
condition of resistence.
||Money: You have the right to manage your own money or to
rights and choose someone you trust to do this for you. If you
ask the protections of your nursing home to manage your personal
funds, you must sign a health information. written statement
that allows the nursing home to do this for you. However, the
nursing home must allow you access to your home. bank accounts,
cash, and other financial records. The nursing home must protect
your funds from any loss by buying a bond or providing other
Privacy, Property, and Living Arrangements: You have the right to privacy,
and to keep and use your personal belongings and property as
long as they don't interfere with the rights, health, or safety
of others. Nursing home staff should never open your mail unless
you allow it. You have the right to use a telephone and talk
privately. The nursing home must protect your property from
theft. This may include a safe in the facility or cabinets with
locked doors in resident rooms.
If you and your spouse live in the same nursing
home, you are entitled to share a room (if you both agree to
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have the right to be informed about your medical condition,
medications, and to see your own doctor. You also have the right
to refuse medications and treatments (but this could be harmful to
your health). You have the right to take part in developing your
care plan.You have the right to look at your medical records and
reports when you ask.
||Visitors: You have the right to spend private time with
visitors at any reasonable hour. The nursing home must permit your
family to visit you at any time, as long as you wish to see them.
You don't have to see any visitor you don't wish to see.
Any person who gives you
help with your health or legal services may see you at any
reasonable time. This includes your doctor, representative from
the health department, and your Long-Term Care Ombudsman, among
||Social Services: The nursing home must provide you with any needed
social services, including counseling, help solving problems with
other residents, help in contacting legal and financial
professionals, and discharge planning.
||Leaving the Nursing Home: Living in a nursing home is your
choice. You can choose to move to another place. However, the
nursing home may have a policy that requires you to tell them
before you plan to leave. If you don't, you may have to pay them
an extra fee. If you are going to another nursing home, make sure
that there is a bed available for you.
If your health allows
and your doctor agrees, you can spend time away from the nursing
home visiting friends or family during the day or overnight. Talk
to the nursing home staff a few days ahead of time if you want to
do this so medication and care instructions can be prepared.
nursing home care is covered by certain health insurance,you may
not be able to leave for visits without losing your coverage.
||Complaints: You have the right to make a complaint to the staff
of the nursing home, or any other person, without fear of
punishment. The nursing home must resolve the issue promptly.
||Protection Against Unfair Transfer or Discharge: You cannot be sent to another
nursing home, or made to leave the nursing home unless:
necessary for the welfare, health, or safety of you or others,
has declined to the point that the nursing home can not meet your
has improved to the point that nursing home care is no longer
home has not been paid for services you received, or
in emergencies, nursing homes must give a 30-day written notice of
their plan to discharge or transfer you. You have the right to
appeal a transfer to another facility.
A nursing home cannot
make you leave if you are waiting to get Medicaid. The nursing
home should work with other state agencies to get payment if a
family member or other individual is holding your money.
||Your Family and Friends: Family members and legal guardians
may meet with the families of other residents and may participate
in family councils. By law, nursing homes must develop a plan of
care (care plan) for each resident. You have the right to take
part in this process, and family members can help with your care
plan with your permission. If your relative is your legal
guardian, he or she has the right to look at all medical records
about you and has the right to make important decisions on your
Family and friends can
help make sure you get good quality care. They can visit and get
to know the staff and the nursing home's rules.
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