Know Your Resident Rights

Knowing your rights is one of the best ways to properly equip yourself for advocacy. Especially if you’re speaking up for yourself. And since this year’s Residents’ Rights Month theme is Amplify Our Voices, we thought we should outline residents’ rights so residents across the country have the information they need.

Residents’ Rights

While there are a lot of laws on the books, there are some key, basic rights every resident is entitled to. Knowing these laws can help residents stand and speak up for themselves in daily settings. This knowledge can also help family members easily recognize when their loved one’s rights have been violated.

Right to a Dignified Existence

Among other aspects, the right to a dignified existence includes:
Be treated with consideration, respect, and dignity, recognizing each resident’s individuality
Freedom from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and misappropriation of property
Freedom from physical or chemical restraints

Right to Self-Determination

The key to self-determination is that residents can choose what activities to participate in. No one should be forced to do something they don’t want to do, and the level of independence previously enjoyed should be maintained.This also includes:
Participate in developing and implementing a person-centered plan of care that incorporates personal and cultural preferences
Choice about designating a representative to exercise his or her rights
Organize and participate in resident and family groups
Request, refuse, and/or discontinue treatment

Right to be Fully Informed

Being kept in the dark violates your right to make your decisions as well as your right to your own health and daily care information. The right to be fully informed includes the right to know:

  • The type of care to be provided, and risks and benefits of proposed treatments
  • Changes to the plan of care, or in medical or health status
  • Rules and regulations, including a written copy of residents’ rights
  • Contact information for the long-term care ombudsman program and the state survey agency
  • State survey reports and the nursing facility’s plan of correction

Right to Raise Grievances

We’ve talked about the fear some residents experience when they have been mistreated or abused and wish to submit a formal complaint. This is a very real issue and can result in residents keeping quiet about their abuse or neglect. So, it is important to know that every resident has the right to raise grievances without repercussions.

  • Present grievances without discrimination or retaliation, or the fear of it
  • Prompt efforts by the facility to resolve grievances, and provide a written decision upon request
  • To file a complaint with the long-term care ombudsman program or the state survey agency

Right of Access

This right outlines that residents have a right to 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

Rights Regarding Financial Affairs

Though there might be exceptions for residents with dementia, Alzheimers, and other mental health issues, all residents have the right to manage their own financial affairs. This includes the right to:

  • Manage his or her financial affairs
  • Information about available services and the charges for each service
  • Personal funds of more than $100 ($50 for residents whose care is funded by Medicaid) deposited by the facility in a separate interest-bearing account, and financial statements quarterly or upon request
  • Not be charged for services covered by Medicaid or Medicare

Right to Privacy

Everyone has a right to their privacy. This right includes privacy:

  • Regarding personal, financial, and medical affairs
  • Private and unrestricted communication with any person of their choice
  • During treatment and care of personal needs

Rights During Discharge/Transfer

One of the problems we’ve seen before is that residents have been moved to different homes without notice. Please note that all residents have rights when it comes to nursing home discharge and transfers. The two most important rights are:

  • 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

Read more about these basic rights on the National Consumer Voice fact sheet.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of abuse or neglect, call Gharibian Law (877-460-1187) today for a FREE consultation and the best legal representation.