Legal Rights Information
Different standards apply to nursing homes depending on how the institution is classified. In order from those providing the lowest to the highest level of nursing care, these classifications are: “adult boarding,” “residential care,” “intermediate care” and “skilled nursing” facilities. Federal and state governments regulate intermediate and skilled nursing facilities, especially in respect to their involvement with Medicare and Medicaid. National standards for “extended care” facilities are outlined in the Federal Medicare Health Insurance Program for the Aged.
Federal and state laws govern facilities participating in Medicaid or Medicare, whereas only state laws apply to those that do not. Under federal guidelines, nursing homes must provide written policies and procedures with respect to mistreatment, abuse and neglect of residents. Residents are entitled to receive written and verbal notice of the services and rights to which they are entitled and they must acknowledge receipt of such notice.
Nursing home residents have the right to see representatives of the state and federal government, family members, physicians, service providers, and ombudsmen or other resident advocates. An ombudsman investigates and helps resolve resident complaints. Ombudsmen do not charge for their services and do not regulate the facility.
A resident can only be removed from a facility if the resident no longer needs the nursing home’s services, if it is necessary for the resident’s welfare or for the safety of others, the resident fails to make payments after reasonable notice or if the facility closes. The nursing home must provide 30-days notice of a discharge or proposed transfer, and the resident has the right to appeal.
Facilities that participate in the Medicaid program are required to supply written notice of the state bed-hold policy to a resident and family member before transferring the resident for therapy or hospitalization. A bed-hold period is the length of time a resident’s bed will be held open for his or her return. Residents who return after the bed-hold period expires have the right to be readmitted when a semi-private bed becomes available.
Other rights nursing home residents are entitled to:
Keeping their personal possessions
Applying for Medicare and Medicaid benefits without being discriminated against for receiving such benefits
Being treated the same as other residents
Confidentiality of their clinical and personal records
A listing of services paid by Medicare and Medicaid and all additional fees and services
A choice in their own physician
Full information and participation in the planning with regard to their medical care
Refusal of any treatment
Not being kept apart from other residents against their will
Not to be restrained if not necessary
To raise grievances and to have them resolved expeditiously
To participate in religious, social and community activities
Not to be required to deposit their personal funds with the nursing home
To privacy, including that with regard to medical treatment, visits, communications, and meetings with resident groups and family
To review the most recent state inspection report
If your loved one is a resident of a nursing home and you feel his or her rights have been violated, you should speak to an attorney immediately.
Contact us online or by telephone at:
Stamford, Connecticut: 203-564-9888
Westchester, New York: 914-574-2535
Toll Free: 800-928-9320
Experienced and competent representation that won't break your budget.
Appointments available before and after normal business hours by request. Accepts calls for emergencies 24/7.