For seniors who live in nursing homes, there’s always been a certain level of vulnerability. From mental health to physical health to how they are treated by staff onsite, nursing home residents have to live in very careful surroundings and many residents need frequent or constant personal or nursing care. Federal and state laws exist to safeguard the care of residents. As such, it’s important to understand the specific nursing home resident rights that they have. Read on for a better understanding of what those rights are.
The Rights of Nursing Home Residents
Certain homes and states have their own Bill of Rights when it comes to nursing home rights and protections. These rules were set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and meant to protect Medicare and Medicaid facilities.
Altogether, residents have many rights at senior living facilities, including the right to manage their financial affairs, be a part of their own medical treatment, be free from abuse, and enjoy their property. Nursing home residents have the right to report abuse and register complaints without fear of retribution.
Here’s a more detailed look at some of the specific nursing home resident rights:
Before Moving In
Federal law prohibits skilled nursing facilities from discriminating against protected classes. Essentially, a nursing home can’t decide whether people can live there based on their race, color, religion, age, sex, or any other protected class of people. If someone suspects a nursing home has violated these rights, a local long-term care ombudsman can be notified.
A skilled nursing facility must put in writing what services it will provide and its associated fees. Also, while some types of retirement facilities, including continuing care communities, require a significant buy-in fee upfront that guarantees residents access to various types of care as their needs change over time, skilled nursing facilities cannot impose these fees.
While a nursing home may offer to manage a resident’s funds, it cannot require a resident to let it manage their money. Even if the resident gives consent, the nursing home must provide quarterly financial statements and it cannot prevent such individuals from gaining access to their own bank accounts or financial documents.
Federal law protects nursing home residents’ right to be treated with dignity and respect. This includes making decisions, such as when to go to bed or when to get up, what time to eat meals, and what activities to do during the day. Staff are not allowed to verbally or physically abuse patients or administer medicines that are not part of their treatment plan.
Right to Privacy
Patients also have a right to privacy and personal property, which includes being allowed to open their own mail and have private conversations on the phone. They are permitted to have visitors during reasonable times of the day, and they can also forbid certain people from visiting.
Patients also have the right to be updated on their physical, mental, and emotional health as well as treatments they are on. Patients can continue to see their doctors and refuse the services of resident practitioners, and they have the same right to refuse treatments and medications that outpatients have.
One thing nursing homes are not required to do is to keep track of the benefits used for a patient’s care. When it comes to facilities, Medicare coverage can be complicated. It covers a stay completely for a certain number of days and then pays out a set amount for a longer period of time. After that time, patients are responsible for their entire bill, unless they have longer term care insurance or some other type of coverage.
About Highland Risk
At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With three offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix, Arizona; and Burlington, Connecticut, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.