Is your elderly mother or father hesitant on living in a nursing home for fear their freedom will be over? Or maybe you are worried for them that they won’t have a voice or any rights, and that they will just be one of the many nursing home residents in Florida. While coming to live in a nursing home will be a huge change for your aging parent, it is important to know that their life isn’t over, their freedom isn’t gone, and that they do have many rights.

Nursing home residents and their families need to know what the basic rights are under the law. Federal law helps protect nursing home residents from abuse, neglect, and mistreatment by giving them many legal rights under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law, such as:

  1. Nursing home residents have the right to dignity and respect. This means that residents should be treated with courtesy and dignity. They should be free from physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse and financial abuse. And their personal possessions should be safe and secure.
  2. Nursing home residents have the right to privacy and confidentiality. This means that residents should be allowed private phone calls or be able to deal with their own financial affairs. Basically, they have the right to privacy in all aspects of their care, including medical and personal care.
  3. Nursing home residents have the right to make independent choices. This means they can belong to social groups outside of the nursing home, leave the nursing home, choose how they want to spend their time, decide what they want to wear, pick when they want to go to bed and wake up, and choose what type of snacks and outside meals they want to eat. However, the nursing home is required to provide a meal choice to their residents.
  4. Nursing home residents have the right to plan their own care. This means that residents can choose their own physician, be informed of all their medical conditions, participate in their own treatment, refuse certain medications and treatment, have the right to their own record, and they must receive appropriate care.
  5. Nursing home residents have the right to know laws and available services. This means that residents should be provided with their legal rights, state laws, facility rules, facility charges and available services.
  6. Nursing home residents have the right to receive and refuse visitors. This means that residents can be visited by relatives, friends, legal professionals, a representative from the ombudsman program, and anyone else of the resident’s choosing. The resident can also refuse visitors, and the nursing home should listen to the residents’ choices and shouldn’t keep anyone from them.
  7. Nursing home residents have the right to receive a notice before transfer or discharge. This means that nursing home residents cannot be transferred to a different room or nursing home without advance notice and the ability to appeal the decision.

While the nursing home law was made to help protect residents’ rights and promote dignity, some nursing homes do not follow the law or consider the residents’ rights. If this is the case, it is important that you talk with the nursing home director or complain to the state ombudsman. If abuse or neglect is taking place, it is best to get a nursing home abuse lawyer involved.

For legal help, you can receive a free consultation by an experienced nursing home attorney in South Florida. Please call the Law Offices of David Benenfeld at 866-9 HELP NOW or 866-943-5766 today.