Guide To Residents’ Rights at Nursing Homes

If your family member or loved one is staying at a nursing home they have rights under the Nursing Home Reform Act, otherwise known as the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA), 42 CFR 483, et. seq.  This includes the right to be treated with respect and dignity (42 CFR 483.10(e)).  This means that your family member has the right:

  • To be free from physical or chemical restraints meant to discipline them or for convenience of the nursing home staff, rather than to treat their medical symptoms;
  • To use personal possessions;
  • To reside and receive services in the nursing home with reasonable accommodation except when doing so would endanger your family member or other residents;
  • To share a room with their spouse if they live in the same nursing home as theirs spouse;
  • To receive written notice about a room or roommate change, and the reasons for that change;
  • To refuse transfer to another room under certain circumstances.

However this is not the end of your family member’s rights at the nursing home.  They also have the right to choose activities, health care providers, to make choices about aspects of their life in the facility they consider important, to interact with members of the community, to receive visitors of their choosing, and to manage their financial affairs. (42 CFR 483.10(f)).  Your family member also has the right to be informed of the rights they have while in the nursing home (42 CFR 483.10(g)(1)).  They also have a right to access their personal and medical records at the nursing home. (42 CFR 483.10(g)(2)).

When choosing a nursing home, your family has the right to the results of the most recent survey of the nursing home. (An investigation the State or Federal Government will conduct of the nursing home to ensure it is complying with federal and state laws and regulations).  They also have the right to review the plan of correction for any citations the nursing home received as a result of the survey. (42 CFR 483.10(g)(10).

Most importantly though is that your family member has a right to a good quality of life.  Specifically they must receive, and the nursing home must provide, the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psycho-social well-being, consistent with the resident’s comprehensive assessment and plan of care.  (42 CFR 483.24).  This includes the right to receive hygienic care (bathing, dressing, grooming, and oral care); mobility care (transfer and ambulation, including walking); toileting; dinning; and communication.  (42 CFR 483.24(b))

Finally the facility must ensure quality of care of your family member.  This means based on a comprehensive assessment of your family member, the nursing home must ensure your family member receives treatment and care in accordance with professional standards of practice, the comprehensive person-centered care plan, and your family member’s choices. (42 CFR 483.25)

These are not the only rights your family member has while a resident at a nursing home.  If you feel that your or a loved one’s rights were violated by a nursing home the attorneys at the Thistle Law Firm are here to take your call and answer all of your questions at 215-525-6824.



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