Nursing home residents have a range of rights that are designed to protect their health, safety, and well-being while they are living in long-term care facilities. These rights are based on the principles of respect, dignity, and autonomy. The intent of nursing home residents’ rights is to ensure they receive high-quality care and are treated with the utmost respect and consideration.
Some of the key rights that nursing home residents enjoy include the right to receive quality care that is appropriate to their needs and preferences, the right to make choices about their care and treatment, and the right to be free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Residents also have the right to privacy, to participate in activities that promote their well-being, and to access information about their care and treatment.
Residents who feel that their rights have been violated have the right to file grievances and seek redress through various channels, including the facility itself, state agencies, and suing a nursing home.
The Nursing Home Reform Act
The Nursing Home Reform Act is a federal law that was passed in 1987 and established a set of minimum standards of care for nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs. It requires states to enforce these standards through regular inspections and monitoring.
The Nursing Home Reform Act contains a number of provisions designed to improve the quality of care and quality of life for nursing home residents. Some key provisions include:
- Resident Rights: The law establishes a list of residents’ rights, including the right to be free from abuse and neglect, the right to privacy, and the right to participate in decisions about their care.
- Comprehensive Assessments: The law requires nursing homes to conduct a comprehensive assessment of each resident’s needs and develop an individualized care plan.
- Staffing Requirements: The law sets minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes, including the number of registered nurses and licensed practical nurses that must be on duty at all times.
- Quality of Care: The law requires nursing homes to provide services and care that meet professional standards of quality.
- Resident and Family Involvement: The law requires nursing homes to involve residents and their families in care planning and decision-making.
- Inspection and Enforcement: The law requires states to conduct regular inspections of nursing homes and to enforce the standards of care established by the law.
The Nursing Home Reform Act represents a significant milestone in the history of long-term care in the United States. It has helped to improve the quality of care for nursing home residents and has established important protections for some of the most vulnerable members of our society.
What Is the Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights in Illinois?
The Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights in Illinois outlines the basic rights and protections afforded to residents of nursing homes in the state. These rights are designed to promote and protect the dignity, autonomy, and well-being of residents. They also aim to ensure that they receive high-quality care and services.
Some rights, protections, and privileges guaranteed to long-term care residents in Illinois include:
- The right to dignity, respect, and safety
- The right to participate in your own care
- The right to privacy and confidentiality
- The money and property rights
- The rights regarding Medicaid and Medicare
- The right to stay in your facility
In addition to the rights entitled to you as a long-term care resident, you also have rights as a citizen. You do not lose your rights as a citizen of Illinois and the United States because you live in a long-term care facility. While living in a long-term care facility, you have the right to vote, the right to see reports of all inspections, and the right to participate in community and social activities.
Your Right to Dignity, Respect, and Safety
As a resident of a long-term care facility, you have rights to dignity and respect. This includes the right to make your own choices and to receive care in a manner that promotes your quality of life. The facility where you reside must provide equal access to quality care regardless of diagnosis, condition, or payment source.
Long-term care residents also have a right to safety. You have the right to live free from abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Long-term care facilities must be kept clean and comfortable and provide services to keep your physical and mental health at their highest practical levels.
Your Right to Participate in Your Own Care
As a long-term care resident, you have the right to participate in your own care and your facility must make reasonable arrangements to meet your needs and choices. You should have the opportunity to participate in developing your care plan that states all the services your facility will provide to you and everything you are expected to do. This plan must include your personal and cultural choices.
Additionally, you may choose to have family, friends or a representative join in the care plan conference. You also have the right to choose your doctor, to request or refuse treatment, and to choose your activities and schedule.
Your Right to Privacy and Confidentiality
Nursing home residents have a right to privacy and confidentiality of your personal and medical records. Facility staff must respect your privacy when you are being examined or given care.
Staff should always knock before entering your room. Staff also cannot give information about you or your care to unauthorized persons without your permission.
You also have the right to control how visitation is handled. You have the right to have private visits at the hour of your choosing if it does not impose on the rights of other residents, and you may ask any visitor to leave your personal living area at any time.
Your Money and Property Rights
As a resident of a long-term care facility, you have the right to manage your own money. The facility must not require you to let them manage your money or be your Social Security representative payee. The facility where you reside must also allow you to see your financial records at any time.
You also have the right to keep and use your own property such as clothing, media, and valuables. Your facility must try to keep your property from being lost or stolen. If your property is missing, the facility must try to find it.
Your Rights Regarding Medicaid and Medicare
You have the right to apply for Medicaid or Medicare to help pay for your care in a long-term care facility. If you get Medicaid, the facility may not make you pay for anything that Medicaid pays for. The facility must give you a written list of what items and services Medicaid pays for, and for items and services for which you could be charged.
If you are not currently receiving Medicaid or Medicare, your facility must give you information about how to apply for Medicaid and Medicare and rules about prevention of spousal impoverishment. Prevention of spousal impoverishment rules allow you to give money and property to your spouse and still be eligible for Medicaid.
Your Right to Stay in Your Facility
You have the right to keep living in the long-term care facility where you reside. You must be given written notice if your facility wants you to move from the facility. Furthermore, you can only be asked to leave your facility for one of the following reasons:
- You are a danger to yourself or others
- Your needs cannot be met by the facility
- Your health has improved, and you no longer need the services of a long-term care facility
- You have not paid your bill after reasonable notice
- Your facility closes
Before your facility can transfer or discharge you, it must prepare you to be sure that your discharge is safe and appropriate. You have the right to ask the Long-Term Care Ombudsman for help in appealing the transfer or discharge.
Care of Residents in a Nursing Home
Nursing home patients have the right to receive quality care that is respectful of their dignity and autonomy. The care provided should promote the well-being of the patients and support their ability to maintain as much independence as possible. If you or a loved one is being neglected while in a nursing home, an Illinois nursing home rights lawyer can help you prove nursing home neglect.
In addition to quality care, nursing home patients have the right to be treated with respect and dignity. This includes the right to privacy, autonomy, and choice in their daily lives. They have the right to make decisions about their medical care, and to refuse treatment if they so choose.
Nursing home residents’ rights also include the ability to be free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. As a resident, you have the right to report any suspected abuse or mistreatment, and to have your complaints addressed in a timely and appropriate manner.