What are the Guaranteed Rights for Nursing Home Residents?February 15, 2017 | Category: Nursing Home Neglect/Abuse, Personal Injury
“Since it is the beginning of a new year, we, at Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., would like to remind everyone that seniors and those requiring special care have guaranteed rights in nursing homes or assisted living facilities,” said Fort Myers Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer, Randall Spivey.
When it is time to make a decision to place a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it is always difficult. Although there are many very good facilities, unfortunately there are those which have had cases of neglect and/or abuse.
With nearly two million Americans currently living in long-term care facilities across the United States, abuse and neglect are national concerns. Federal nursing home regulations state, “The resident has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.”
The Federal regulations, according to NursingHomeAlert.com, define nursing home abuse and neglect as:
- Abuse: an intentional infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, care/service deprivation or punishment that results in physical harm, pain or mental anguish.
- Neglect: a failure, intentional or not, to provide a person with the care and services necessary to ensure freedom from harm or pain; a failure to react to a potentially dangerous situation resulting in resident harm or anxiety.
In 1987 Congress enacted the Nursing Home Reform Law which since that time has been incorporated into the Medicare and Medicaid regulations, guaranteeing the rights of residents of nursing care facilities.
What are the Florida nursing home resident rights?
Florida guarantees the residents’ rights for nursing homes, licensed assisted living, adult care homes, and other board and care facilities. According to Section 400.022, Florida Statutes, each resident shall have the right to:
- Civil and religious liberties.
- Private and uncensored communication.
- Visitation by any individual providing health, social, legal, or other services and the right to deny or withdraw consent at any time.
- Present grievances and recommend changes in policies and services free from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal.
- Organize and participate in resident groups.
- Participate in social, religious, and community activities that do not interfere with the rights of others.
- Examine results of recent facility inspections by federal and state agencies including the plan of correction if applicable.
- Manage his/her own financial affairs.
- Be fully informed of services available at the facility and of related charges for such services.
- Refuse medication and treatment and to know the consequences.
- Receive adequate and appropriate health care, protective and support services within established and recognized standards.
- Privacy in treatment and in caring for personal needs.
- Be informed of medical condition and proposed treatment and be allowed participation in planning.
- Be treated courteously, fairly, and with the fullest measure of dignity.
- Be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, extended involuntary seclusion, and from physical and chemical restraints except those ordered by the resident's physician.
- Be transferred or discharged only for medical reasons, the welfare of other residents or nonpayment of a bill.
- Receive a thirty (30) day written notice of discharge or relocation, and challenge such notice.
- Choose physician and pharmacy.
- Retain and use personal clothing and possessions.
- Have copies of rules and regulations of the facility.
- Receive notification prior to room change.
- Receive information concerning bed-hold policy for hospitalization.
Residents cannot be discharged without cause.
Federal law provides that residents have the right to remain in the nursing facility unless a transfer or discharge:
(a) is necessary to meet the resident’s welfare;
(b) is appropriate because the resident’s health has improved, and the resident no longer requires nursing home care;
(c) is needed to protect the health and safety of other residents or staff;
(d) is required because the resident has failed, after reasonable notice, to pay the facility charge for an item or service provided.
What to do if a rights violation occurs?
Should a disagreement with a nursing home or assisted living facility arise, there are a number of steps that can be taken to enforce the resident's rights. These are:
- Talk to the nursing home staff directly. This may be all it takes to solve the problem.
- Talk to a supervisor or administrator.
- Contact the ombudsperson assigned to the nursing home. He or she should be able to intervene and get an appropriate result. Contact information for the Ombudsman Program can be found at: www.ltcombudsman.org/ombudsman.
- Additional steps include reporting the nursing home to the licensing agency and hiring a geriatric care manager to intervene.
“When the direct approach does not work, victims may need to hire an attorney to resolve the issue, or issues,” said Attorney Spivey.
Fort Myers Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer,Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.