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Nursing Home Residents’ Rights

Federal and state nursing home regulations govern the rights of nursing home and assisted living residents. These regulations, designed to protect patients from abuse and neglect, address privacy, security and participation in care concerns. Among these regulations are the laws created by the Nursing Home Reform Act.

Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act in 1987 following a 1986 study finding that nursing home residents were frequently being abused and neglected. The purpose of the Nursing Home Reform Act is to make certain that all federally-funded nursing homes provide quality care and services aimed at maintaining the physical, mental and social well-being of each resident. This act makes the care of nursing home residents a matter of federal law and ensures that any violation of the standards set forth in the guidelines is considered a federal crime. The act also offers consequences and solutions to problems or violations, requires nursing homes to provide specific services, and establishes a residents’ Bill of Rights.

The Nursing Home Reform Act enacted the following rights for nursing home residents:

  1. The right to live without the fear of enduring physical restraint
  2. The right to live in a caring environment free from abuse, mistreatment and neglect
  3. The right to receive personal care that accommodates physical, medical, emotional and social needs
  4. The right to privacy
  5. The right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal
  6. The right to a social contact/interaction with fellow residents and family members
  7. The right to be treated with dignity
  8. The right to exercise self-determination
  9. The right to exercise freedom of speech and communicate freely
  10. The right to participate in the creation and review of one’s individualized care plan
  11. The right to be fully informed in advance of any changes to care plan or status of the nursing home