Nursing Homes and Patient RightsIn 1986, the Institute of Medicine conducted a study at the request of Congress to determine what kind of treatment residents of nursing homes were receiving. The study found that too many nursing home residents were being abused, neglected, and receiving inadequate care. In response, the Institute of Medicine proposed a number of reforms to Congress; most of these reforms were then codified into law with the passing of the Nursing Home Reform Act.

The objective of the Nursing Home Reform Act is to ensure that nursing home residents receive quality care that will result in their achieving or maintaining the highest physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being. The law specifies certain services that nursing homes must provide to their residents, and sets standards that nursing homes must adhere to. Services required under the Nursing Home Reform Act include: periodic resident assessments; a comprehensive care plan for each resident; nursing services; social services; rehabilitation services; pharmaceutical services; dietary services; and, if the facility has over 120 beds it must provide access to a full-time social worker.

The act also contains certain rights that all nursing home residents possess. These rights include:

  • The right to be free from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect
  • The right to be free from physical restraints
  • The right to privacy
  • The right to have medical, physical, psychological, and social needs accommodated
  • The right to participate in resident and family groups
  • The right to be treated with dignity and respect
  • The right to be informed about their medical conditions, medication, and be free to see their own doctor
  • The right to voice grievances without the threat of reprisal

The Nursing Home Reform Act also established a certification process requiring states to conduct unannounced inspections (including resident interviews). If the inspection finds that the nursing home is not in compliance, an enforcement process is initiated. Sanctions that can be imposed on nursing homes that fail to comply include civil monetary penalties and the denial of payments for all Medicaid and Medicare patients.

Glenn Matecun proudly serves the citizens of Michigan in the areas of elder law, estate planning, and special needs law. Visit our website to learn more and schedule a consultation.

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