Oftentimes as individuals get older, they require more medical care and assistance going about their daily activities. Unfortunately families are not always able to provide their parents or grandparents with the care that they require. Nursing homes are a useful resource for elders and their families to ensure that individuals can be properly cared for. However, it is important to understand your rights as a nursing home resident in order to protect yourself and legitimately receive the care that you deserve. For more information about your rights as a nursing home resident, continue reading.
Your Rights as a Nursing Home Resident
In the event that your circumstances require you to live in a nursing home, it may seem as if your life is constantly being controlled by others. Despite this, you have not given up your rights by moving into a nursing home facility. There are laws in place for the protection of older populations and individuals that are living in nursing homes. These laws are designed to protect people from neglect, elder abuse, and otherwise being taken advantage of. Below we discuss just a few of the important rights that individuals have as residents of nursing homes.
The Right to be Informed
The right to be informed essentially means that the facility that you are going to be staying at has the legal duty to inform you of your rights. They should provide you both with oral and written statements outlining your rights. You also have the right to be informed of the services that are available to you at the nursing home and the prices of these services.
You are also to be informed of things such as the rules of the facility, inspection reports, the names and addresses of the facility’s owners, and a summary of the state laws about advance directives. You have the legal right to know about the state of your health as well as when someone is planning to make a change to your treatment plan. Lastly, the nursing home must notify you in advance if you are going to need to move rooms or change roommates.
The Right to Privacy
One of your rights as a nursing home resident is that you are entitled to privacy. You have the right to meet with visitors including family, doctors, lawyers, etc., in private. You also have the right to remove permission for someone to visit your room. Your mail and phone calls cannot be monitored by facility staff and you have the right to dress, bathe, and use the toilet in private, if it is physically feasible.
The Right to Confidentiality
The nursing home that you are living at has a legal responsibility to protect your confidentiality as a resident. This includes medical, personal, financial, and social information. The facility cannot share any of this information with other organizations, individuals or agencies without your permission. Lastly, you have the right to access your records and have copies made of your records at a reasonable cost.
The Right to Dignity
As a person that has acted and lived as an adult for many years, you are entitled to be treated with dignity. No matter an individual’s personal situation or attitude, they always have the right to be treated fairly and with respect. This includes the right to refuse treatment, the right to refuse to perform work for the facility, the right to be free of mental and physical abuse, chemical and physical restraints, and a variety of other rights. Medical and facility staff should always be courteous and professional.
Personal Property Rights
You are legally permitted to bring personal belongings to the nursing home, as space permits. Nursing homes are required to inform residents in writing of the manner in which residents’ personal funds will be protected. If your property is damaged or stolen while living in a nursing home, the facility may be required to replace the property. It is important to be familiar with the written admissions agreement with the facility for more information as to who is responsible for the safeguarding of personal property.
Do You Need Legal Assistance?
If you are concerned about the safety or well being of a family member that is staying in a nursing home, you may be in need of legal assistance. Your or your family member’s rights as a nursing home resident are extremely important. If you have noticed something suspicious or inappropriate happening, or if your family member has mentioned that they are not being properly cared for, it may be helpful to involve an estate planning or elder law attorney. We at Stevenson Smith Hood Knudson P.C. are experienced in these matters. We are eager to help you protect yourself or your family members. For more information, feel free to reach out to us today.