Federal Law and State law have been established requiring that all facilities are to protect the rights and dignity of every resident. The most basic of which is to provide a clean, healthy, attractive environment. Residents are entitled to equal treatment regardless of creed, religion, ability to pay, or source of payment.
Under federal regulations, all nursing homes are required by law to have written policies called the Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights, which detail the rights of the residents. Every nursing home is mandated under Federal Law to make these policies available to any resident who requests them. Always request it.
When reviewing a particular Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights make sure the following topics, at a minimum, are addressed in the document:
- The right to be fully informed before or at admission of your rights and responsibilities as a resident and to be notified of any changes or amendments to those rights and responsibilities;
- The right to be fully informed of the services available in the facility and of the charges related to those service;
- The right to be fully informed of one’s own medical condition unless the physician indicates in the medical records that it is not in the best interest of the patient to be told. Additionally, informed consent, including the right to be advised by a physician or appropriate professional staff of alternative courses of care and treatments and their consequences;
- The right to choose one’s own doctor or specialist;
- The right to manage one’s own funds or to authorize an agent to manage them; and
- The right to retain and use one’s own personal clothing and possessions as space permits, unless doing so infringes upon the rights of other residents.