Federal Regulations Rights in Nursing Homes
Medicare provides a link to Resident Rights in Nursing Homes. According to Medicare: Your Rights in Nursing Homes.
What are my Rights in Nursing Homes?
As a nursing home resident, you have certain rights and protections under Federal and state law that help ensure you get the care and services you need. You have the right to be informed, make your own decisions, and have your personal information kept private. The nursing home must tell you about these rights and explain them in writing in a language you understand. They must also explain in writing how you should act and what you’re responsible for while you’re in the nursing home. This must be done before or at the time you’re admitted, as well as during your stay. You must acknowledge in writing that you got this information.
Minimum Rights in Nursing Homes
At a minimum, Federal law specifies that nursing homes must protect and promote the following rights of each resident. You have the right to:
Be Treated with Respect: You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, as well as make your own schedule and participate in the activities you choose. You have the right to decide when you go to bed, rise in the morning, and eat your meals.
Participate in Activities: You have the right to participate in an activities program designed to meet your needs and the needs of the other residents.
Be Free from Discrimination: Nursing homes don’t have to accept all applicants, but they must comply with Civil Rights laws that say they can’t discriminate based on race, color, national origin, disability, age, or religion.
The Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights has more information. Visit http://www.hhs.gov/ocr.
Be Free from Abuse and Neglect: You have the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse. Nursing homes can’t keep you apart from everyone else against your will. If you feel you have been mistreated (abused) or the nursing home isn’t meeting your needs (neglect), report this to the nursing home, your family, your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman, or State Survey Agency. The nursing home must investigate and report all suspected violations and any injuries of unknown origin within 5 working days of the incident to the proper authorities.
Be Free from Restraints: Nursing homes can’t use any physical restraints (like side rails) or chemical restraints (like drugs) to discipline you for the staff’s own convenience.
Make 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 address the issue promptly.
Get Proper Medical Care: You have the following rights regarding your medical care: To be fully informed about your total health status in a language you understand. To be fully informed about your medical condition, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements. To be involved in the choice of your doctor. To participate in the decisions that affects your care. To take part in developing your care plan. By law, nursing homes must develop a care plan for each resident. You have the right to take part in this process. Family members can also help with your care plan with your permission. To access all your records and reports, including clinical records (medical records and reports) promptly (on weekdays). Your legal guardian has the right to look at all your medical records and make important decisions on your behalf. To express any complaints (sometimes called “grievances”) you have about your care or treatment. To create advance directives (a health care proxy or power of attorney, a living will, after-death wishes) in accordance with State law.
To refuse to participate in experimental treatment.
Have Your Representative Notified: The nursing home must notify your doctor and, if known, your legal representative or an interested family member when the following occurs: You’re involved in an accident and are injured and/or need to see a doctor. Your physical, mental, or psychosocial status starts to get worse. You have a life threatening condition. You have medical complications. Your treatment needs to change significantly. The nursing home decides to transfer or discharge you from the nursing home. Get Information on Services and Fees: You have the right to be told in writing about all nursing home services and fees (those that are charged and not charged to you) before you move into the nursing home and at any time when services and fees change.
In addition: The nursing home can’t require a minimum entrance fee if your care is paid for by Medicare or Medicaid.
This website is not intended to provide legal advice as each situation is different and specific factual information must be obtained before an attorney is able to assess the legal questions relevant to your situation.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from neglect or abuse in a nursing home or other care facility that serves the elderly in Minnesota please contact our firm for a free consultation and information regarding the obligations of the facility and your rights as a resident or concerned family member.