Nursing home residents deserve protection for their fundamental rights

The fear that your loved one may not experience the standard of care they deserve while in a nursing home is not unfounded. Unfortunately, instances of poor care of the elderly in care facilities have been reported for a long time. To help combat this, Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act in 1987 that requires all nursing homes “promote and protect the rights of each resident.” This act is meant to emphasize the need for nursing homes to respect the dignity and choices of all elderly Americans.

To participate in Medicare or Medicaid, nursing homes must meet the federal residents' rights requirements if they are certified by the state to be in substantial compliance with the requirements of the Nursing Home Reform Act. But as we know, elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes and long-term care facilities has persisted at an alarming rate while facilities still receive Medicaid and Medicare payments. About 150,000 residents a year report abuse, and it is assumed that there are many more unreported incidents. Because of this increase, understanding resident’s rights in these matters is more important than ever.

A resident should never decline in health or well-being as a result of the way a nursing facility provides care. So, when selecting a nursing home or long-term care facility, be sure that the facility being considered “provides services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident.” To help with this, Hupy and Abraham has provided this list of the ten rights which all residents of nursing homes are entitled.

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act provides the following rights to residents:

  1. The right to freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect;
  2. The right to freedom from physical restraints;
  3. The right to privacy;
  4. The right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs;
  5. The right to participate in resident and family groups;
  6. The right to be treated with dignity;
  7. The right to exercise self-determination;
  8. The right to communicate freely;
  9. The right to participate in the review of one's care plan, and to be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or change of status in the facility; and
  10. The right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal.

These are the basic rights that certified nursing homes and long-term care facilities are required to provide to their residents. If they do not, they are subject to investigation, fines and other penalties. The severity of the repercussions depends on whether the violations puts a resident in immediate danger, or whether it is an isolated incident, part of a pattern, or widespread throughout the facility.

Dignity is a basic human right. So, if you suspect a loved one has been the victim of injury or wrongful death while in the care of a nursing home or long-term facility, you must take action right away. Contact the experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys of Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678. Or, start a live chat with us now.