What Rights Do Nursing Home Residents Have?
Elderly people who live in nursing homes are not children, and they are definitely not prisoners. They are citizens of the United States and have the same rights as any other adult in this country. While old age and medical conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may make it difficult for nursing home residents to exert their rights, and they may have given power of attorney to a family member to help with decision-making, that does not mean their rights should be ignored.
While specific laws vary from state to state, the following four critical rights are universal.
The Right To Be Involved In Their Medical Care
Nursing home residents get to choose their own doctor, if able. They have the right to be informed about their healthcare and to collaborate in the development of treatment plans. They get to make their own decisions about their care and are even allowed to refuse treatment. They should be provided with their medical records upon request. Those records should be kept confidential, just like any other patient’s.
The Right To Keep And Use Their Property
Just because someone is entering a nursing home does not mean they do not get to have possessions. While downsizing may be necessary due to space or safety concerns, nursing home staff should not take items away from residents. This should especially not be used as a form of punishment. Further, residents should not be forced to share their property with other residents, and if a resident takes another resident’s property, it should be returned to the owner as soon as possible.
The Right To Equal Treatment
Everyone at a nursing home must be treated equally, regardless of gender, race, religion or any other characteristic. Importantly, residents should not be given more or less care based on how they are paying for their care. Private payers should not get any different treatment or benefits than residents who are paying through Medicare or Medicaid.
The Right To Be Safe From Harm
At the end of the day, this is why elderly people are admitted to nursing homes – to keep them safe. They should be protected from physical, emotional or financial harm. They should be watched over and cared for. They should not be hit or abused in any way. They should not be isolated from the community. They should not be strapped down unnecessarily or immobilized through overmedication.
If you believe an elderly loved one has been harmed at a nursing home or has had their rights violated, please contact a lawyer at our law firm for a free consultation. Call 877-930-2080 or send us an email.