Not everyone may experience a crisis or injury that might lead them to a skilled nursing facility for long-term care or rehabilitation. Being outside of your own home can be uncomfortable, especially when you are dependent on nursing staff for your care. However, your rights as a resident in a skilled nursing facility are protected under federal law. In 1987 a federal law was enacted to guarantee these rights, often referred to as the nursing home reform law. The law was developed to protect and promote the rights of each resident and places a strong focus on self-determination and dignity for all.
At the time of your admission, you may be asked to sign admission paperwork. This may include a consent-to-treatment form and authorization to bill your insurance, as well as confirming whether you have a living will or health care power of attorney document.
One of the most important pieces of information that should also be provided upon admission is the “resident bill of rights.” All skilled nursing facilities are required to inform you in writing and in a language you understand of these rights, some of which are:
- The right to be fully informed of the charges and available services.
- The right to be given the name and number of the local Ombudsman.
- The right to file a grievance or complaint without the fear of reprisal and with certainty that the problem will be dealt with promptly.
- The right to file a complaint with the state survey agency or Ombudsman.
- The right to privacy and confidentiality. Often referred to as HIPAA, this law protects against the unauthorized disclosure of your care and treatment and includes medical, financial or personal affairs.
- The right to be treated with dignity, respect, and with consideration of your right to self-determination. This includes being free from abuse and physical or chemical restraints.
- The right to make independent decisions such as choosing your physician, managing your financial affairs, and participating in activities inside or outside of the facility.
- The right to be informed - in a language you understand - of your medical records; the right to choose the type of care provided; and your right to refuse treatment or medication.
- The right to be free from discrimination based on color, race, disability, national origin, or religion.
For a more information on resident rights, you may go to https://www.medicare.gov/NursingHomeCompare/Resources/Resident-Rights.html , or www.nursinghomepatientrights.com.
It is important to be fully informed of all of your rights as a resident in a skilled nursing facility, and to help your loved ones to enforce those rights as needed for their health and safety. Please contact us at (860) 769-6938 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help you protect yourself or your family.