You are transitioning your loved one into a skilled nursing facility and are most likely feeling overwhelmed with the concern for your loved one’s well-being. In order to ensure your loved one receives the top care he or she deserves, your top priority should be understanding your loved one’s rights in a nursing home.
State and federal regulations require nursing homes to have written policies covering the rights of residents. The facility must implement these policies and explain them to the resident. Every resident has the right to dignity, respect and a comfortable living environment, with quality care and treatment without discrimination. At a bare minimum, your loved one’s rights include:
- The right to be fully informed
- The right to complain
- The right to participate in one’s own care
- The right to privacy and confidentiality
- Rights during transfers and discharges
- The right to dignity, respect, and freedom
- The right to visits
- The right to make independent choices
In order to ensure your loved one’s rights are protected, make sure you receive verbal and written notice of the rights and services to which he or she is entitled to. Laws require this notice to be given upon or prior to admission, and in a language the resident understands. Look for family councils or groups that are geared toward abuse prevention. Ask about the specific training staff receives in order to prevent abuse. Finally, find out who to report to in case you feel your loved one’s rights are being violated.
If you feel your loved one’s rights have been violated, he or she is being neglected and you should alert the nursing facility as well as authorities. If you are not sure of what to do, please contact me immediately and we can determine what the next best course of action should be. An elder law attorney’s job is to enhance the family’s ability to advocate for itself and for loved ones in skilled nursing care.