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Laws and Regulations Nursing Homes Must Follow

Nursing homes must follow certain federal and state regulations when caring for a resident who was admitted for rehabilitation from surgery or long term care.  Specifically the statute which sets out a nursing home’s responsibilities is called the Nursing Home Reform Act, otherwise known as the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA), 42 CFR 483, et. seq.  Under this act, a nursing home must provide services to attain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care.  States usually incorporate the regulations laid out in the Nursing Home Reform Act.  For example Pennsylvania has done so in 28 Pa. Code §201.2.

Some of the regulations a nursing home must follow under the Nursing Home Reform Act are: having resident care policies which ensure that residents receive proper care to prevent pressure sores and deformities, that the resident is protected from accident, injury, and infection, and that the resident is encouraged, assisted, and trained in self-care.  (42 CFR §483.2); immediately informing the resident, the resident’s physician, and the resident’s family when there is a significant change in the resident’s physical, mental, or psycho-social status or a need to alter treatment significantly. (42 CFR §483.10(b)(11)); and requires a nursing home to perform a comprehensive and accurate assessment of their residents’ needs. (42 CFR §483.20).  Most importantly under these statutes and regulations nursing homes must maintain adequate staffing and a budget to care for and meet the needs of their residents.

If a nursing home violates any of these guidelines they can be subject to state and federal penalties as well as civil suits.  If you believe you or your loved one was harmed or died due to a nursing home’s neglect, you can contact the lawyers at the Thistle Firm at 215-568-6800 to explore your legal options.

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