Most of us have no problem voicing our concern when we believe our rights are being infringed. But have you thought about the rights of residents living in assisted living facilities? What happens when a person is no longer fully independent? Do their rights change, or is it easier for the people around them to violate their rights?
For this and many more reasons, Consumer Voice designated October as the National Long-Term Care Residents’ Rights Month, a month to recognize the contributions and sacrifices that many long-term care residents have made to improve our community and draw attention to their rights.
The federal Nursing Home Reform Law ensures residents’ rights and places a strong emphasis on individual dignity, choice, and self-determination. This law also demands nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident.” California state law also protects the rights of all long-term care residents.
As a way to honor residents, we want to state in this article all the rights stipulated in the law that they have:
1. The right to be fully informed about the nursing home services, billing, rules, regulations, reports, and changes in the service provided.
2. Right to complain about the service, the program, the staff, or any other person without fear of reprisal and with prompt.
3. Right to participate in their care, assessment care-planning, and treatment.
4. Right to privacy and confidentiality to have unrestricted communication with any person of their choice regarding medical, personal, or financial affairs.
5. Right to a safe transfer or discharge through sufficient preparation by the nursing home.
6. Right to be treated with consideration, respect, and dignity and be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion, and chemical restraints.
7. Right to visits by a resident’s personal physician, representatives from a state survey agency, by relatives or friends, or by organizations or individuals providing health, social, legal, or other services.
8. Right to make independent choices, such as what to wear and how to spend free time
Due to the current situation, this year’s theme is Connection Matters, to remind everyone that it is more important than ever to help residents stay connected with family and friends using technology, window visits, and other safe options. Residents’ Rights Month is an opportunity for residents, long-term care facility staff, families, ombudsman representatives, and other advocates to work together to promote quality long-term care.
Here at Gharibian Law, we encourage community members to have close contact with long-term care residents, participate in this month’s events, or inquire about becoming a volunteer long-term care ombudsman. Your support and attention help to ensure that the voices of long-term care residents do not go unheard.