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What Rights Do Nursing Home Residents Have?

If you or someone you love is a resident of a nursing home, you do have certain protections and rights under federal and state laws. When something happens, you may wonder what these rights are. These laws can vary from state-to-state so it’s important to know what laws are applicable where you reside.

The nursing home is required to provide you with a written description of the legal rights you have under their care. Make sure to keep the information that you get regarding these rights, or admission and transfer policies, in case you need to reference them later.

Freedom From Discrimination

Nursing homes do not have to accept every applicant they receive. However, they are not permitted to deny admission based on certain criteria. Civil rights laws prevent discrimination based on:

  • Religion (under certain circumstances)
  • Disability
  • Color
  • Race
  • National origin
  • Age

Freedom From Neglect and Abuse

As a nursing home resident, you have the right to be free from forced solitude, misappropriation of your property, and all types of abuse including verbal, physical, sexual, and mental abuse.  not only do you have the right to be free from abuse from the nursing home staff, but this also includes other residents, volunteers, family members, legal guardians, friends, or any other individuals.

Right to Respect

You also have the right to be treated with respect and dignity in the nursing home facility. You have the right to choose the activities you would like to participate in. So long as it fits your care plan, you also have the right to make your own schedule including when you go to bed, wake up in the morning, and eat your meals.

Freedom From Restraint

You have the right to be free from restraints, including physical or chemical restraints.  Physical restraints do not allow for the freedom of movement or even normal access to your own body. Physical restraints include any physical or mechanical device, material, or even equipment designed to render you immobile. Conversely, a drug that’s administered for convenience or discipline, and is not necessary to treat medical symptoms, is considered to be a chemical restraint.

It is illegal for a nursing facility to use either physical or chemical restraints unless it’s absolutely necessary to treat you medically. Restraints cannot be used as a punishment, or as a convenience for the staff. Under all circumstances, except if you are at risk of harming yourself or others, you have the right to refuse restraint.

If you believe that yourself or someone you love has had their rights violated at a nursing facility, contact an experienced nursing home lawyer, like a nursing home abuse lawyer in Tucson, AZ, to discuss your options.

Thank you to the experts at Rispoli Law, PLLC, for their input into nursing home abuse law.

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