Rights of Nursing Home Residents

By Rebecca J. Benson

MEDICAL CARE

You have a right to . . .

  • choose your own attending physician
  • make your own decisions about medical care and refuse treatment
  • be informed in advance of changes in your care or treatment
  • be free from physical or chemical restraints, except in emergencies.  Restraints may be used only to ensure the physical safety of you or other residents and only after a physician's written order that tells why and for how long they may be used

The facility must . . .

  • report an alleged violation involving your treatment to the appropriate officials
  • investigate all alleged violations and report the results of the investigation

PERSONAL RIGHTS

You have a right to . . .

  • privacy when meeting with your doctor, family, friends or resident groups
  • send and receive mail that is unopened
  • a private place to make and receive phone calls
  • confidentiality for your personal and medical records
  • see your personal and medical records within 24 hours, upon request
  • share the same room with your spouse if you both reside in the same facility
  • reasonable accommodation of your personal needs and preferences, including the right to plan your own daily activities, wear your own clothes, and keep and use your own furniture and belongings as space allows
  • present grievances to staff, state officials or the ombudsperson without reprisal or discrimination

TRANSFER AND DISCHARGE

You may be transferred or discharged only . . .

  • if necessary for the health or safety of you or other residents
  • for nonpayment
  • if you no longer require the services of the facility
  • if the facility closes

You have a right to . . .

  • receive 30 days' advance written notice of any transfer or discharge, except in emergency situations
  • appeal any transfer or discharge to a State agency
  • receive advance notice of the facility's policy for holding a resident's bed before any transfer for hospitalization or therapeutic leave
  • refuse to be transferred from a "Medicare-certified bed" to a "non-Medicare certified bed" and vice versa

YOUR FUNDS

You have a right to . . .

  • manage your own finances unless a guardian or conservator has been appointed for you, and the facility may not require you to deposit funds with the facility

The facility must . . .

  • hold, safeguard and account for your personal funds if you give written authority
  • deposit personal funds in excess of $50 in a separate interest-bearing account and provide you with a complete accounting of all transactions involving your funds

ABUSE

You have the right to . . .

  • be free from verbal, mental, physical or sexual abuse, corporal punishment or involuntary seclusion

The facility must . . .

  • implement procedures that protect you from abuse, neglect or mistreatment and misappropriation of your property

FACILITY POLICY

You have the right to . . .

  • be informed both orally and in writing at the time of your admission of your rights during your stay at the facility
  • be informed both orally and in writing at the time of your admission and later, when it appears you may have become eligible, of the procedures for establishing Medicaid eligibility

The facility must . . .

  • have the same policies and practices of transfer, discharge and provision of services for all residents, regardless of source of payment.

The facility must not . . .

  • treat people differently because Medicaid or Medicare pays for their care
  • require you to have a guardian or to appoint a power of attorney as a condition of admission
  • require a third party guarantee of payment or accept gifts as a condition for admission or further stay
  • require you to waive your right to apply for or receive Medicaid or Medicare

The facility may . . .

  • require individuals who have legal access to your income or resources to sign a contract (without themselves incurring personal liability) to provide payment from your income or resources.

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