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3 Important Nursing Home Resident Rights You Need to Know

As we continue to celebrate Residents’ Rights Month throughout October, we’d like to shed some light on key rights. All rights are important, of course, but there are some rights that might be lesser known, despite how equally vital they are to the wellbeing of nursing home residents.

The Right to Self-Determination

Essentially, the right to self-determination means that residents have the choice to choose whether or not to do something. In larger communities, residents might feel like they aren’t given much of a choice whether or not to participate in an activity. While residents who are frequently sick, may not be given much of a choice regarding their medical treatment. However, nursing home residents absolutely have the right to make all of these decisions. For as long as they are mentally capable of understanding all of the circumstances and consequences, they have the right to make these decisions. 

According to the Consumer Voice, Nursing home residents have the choice regarding:

  • Activities, schedules, health care, and providers, including attending physician
  • Reasonable accommodation of needs and preferences
  • Participation in developing and implementing a person-centered plan of care that incorporates personal and cultural preferences
  • Designating a representative to exercise his or her rights
  • Organizing and participating in resident and family groups
  • Requesting, refusing, and/or discontinuing treatment

The Right of Access

Just because a resident is no longer living in their own home, does not mean they don’t have continued right of access to records, community members, out-of-facility resources, and more. Residents have the right of access to:

  • Individuals, services, community members, and activities inside and outside the facility
  • Visitors of his or her choosing, at any time, and the right to refuse visitors
  • Personal and medical records
  • His or her personal physician and representatives from the state survey agency and long-term care ombudsman program
  • Assistance if sensory impairments exist
  • Participate in social, religious, and community activities 

The Discharge/Transfer Rights

Lesser mobility and independence means residents are frequently moved and transferred between facilities without being fully informed. Or, for reasons out of their control, they are discharged and moved. As a result, residents can feel helpless and confused. All residents have the right to the following regarding all discharges and transfers:

  • Right to appeal the proposed transfer or discharge and not be discharged while an appeal is pending
  • Receive 30-day written notice of discharge or transfer that includes: the reason; the effective date; the location going to; appeal rights and process for filing an appeal; and the name and contact information for the long-term care ombudsman
  • Preparation and orientation to ensure safe and orderly transfer or discharge
  • Notice of the right to return to the facility after hospitalization or therapeutic leave

These rights, among others, are protected and no resident should be denied their rights. To ensure the best care for yourself and loved ones, it is best to familiarize yourself with all the rights afforded to aging citizens in all care scenarios.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, call Gharibian Law (877-875-1119) today for a free consultation and the best legal representation.