What are the Rights of Nursing Home Patients Under Federal Law?

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An elderly woman looking out her window

When it comes to putting a friend or family member in a long-term care facility or a nursing home, it is hard enough to think of them there, let alone imagine that they might not be getting treated right. There are some basic rights as well as extended rights that are afforded to residents at long-term nursing facilities and knowing what they are can help protect your loved ones. If you or a loved one is being mistreated or mishandled at a nursing home, contact the Law Offices of Roger S. Weinberg for help.

What Rights Do Nursing Home Patients Have?

The first and most basic right that a nursing home patient has is to be treated with respect. This means that you should be treated fairly, justly and that you are not to be treated in any way that is disrespectful. You should have some sort of autonomy in terms of things like when to go to bed if you want to eat your meals and what activities you want to be a part of within the facility. 

Another basic right is the right to participate. This means that no one on the nursing staff or that is part of the nursing facility may prevent you from participating in activities that have been designed for the benefit of the residents. You cannot be excluded if the activity is for the betterment of the lives of the people that live in the facility. 

You are also entitled to the right to be treated without discrimination. This means that you cannot be kept from entering a facility based on race, color, national origin, disability or age range. You also cannot be discriminated against based on your religion. If you qualify for the home and there are no extenuating circumstances that might disqualify you, the home cannot refuse to allow you. This also applies to how they treat you. They cannot discriminate against you when you are living in the home based on any of the factors that were mentioned above. 

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Residents are also protected from neglect and abuse. Though one would think this was a forgone conclusion, you are protected by law from abuse and from neglect. If you are being hit, being left in your own waste for long periods of time, if you are not being given medical care or medications and more, there are all basis for neglect. Neglect, along with abuse, is one of the biggest issues that people in nursing homes and long-term care facilities have to deal with. 

Residents in nursing homes are fully at the whim of the people that work there and that are functioning in the facility. Those individuals are, for the most part, good caretakers but there are some that do abuse and neglect residents. In this case, it is very possible and very important that you do file a lawsuit against those that are perpetrating the abuse or the neglect. 

Residents are also entitled to be free of restraints, this means that the faculty of a care home cannot physically restrain you for punishment or for the ease of the staff that is taking care of you. Those that are in nursing homes also have the right to make complaints as they see fit. If you are living in a nursing home these are just your basic rights and are important to keep in mind so that you can prevent issue and so that you can get on with your life and live in the care facility knowing that you are safe and secure. 

What To Do If Your Rights are Violated?

The first step you need to take is to file a formal complaint. This is going to set the basis for any lawsuit or further action that you might want to take. You also need to make sure that you are taking the time to make any necessary complaints and that you are making a record of what is happening and what your complaint is. 

The next step is to contact a lawyer. A lawyer is going to be able to help you make a case, collect the necessary data and information that is needed, and also make a case that is going to be well established and provable. Nursing homes are supposed to be a safe place for residents to feel comfortable and well cared for, not a place where they live in fear or in conditions that are less than desirable. When you put a loved one into a care home or go into one yourself, you are entitled to certain liberties and to the right to feel safe and secure where you live. A great lawyer can help make a settlement possible and can help bring to justice those people that would violate your rights.