When you or someone you love is faced with the decision to reside in a nursing home it can be very scary. You should do as much research as you can on the facility and interview the residents themselves if allowed. One of the most important pieces of information that needs to be known is the patients’ rights while in the home.
There are federal and state laws in place to help protect the patient. It is imperative that you familiarize yourself with these laws and rights, so you can be aware of them in the event you feel you are being violated.
Residents of nursing homes should be treated with quality care; there is no reason for disrespect, abuse or negligence. The official U.S. government site for Medicare lists some of the patients’ rights which are but not limited to:
Individuals have the right to be treated with respect, free from mental or physical abuse; they should be addressed by their name, have freedom from restraints unless deemed medically necessary, be fed, clean and clothed.
The patient has the right to receive information about the facility’s services and the fees in written form prior to entering the home.
Residents have the right to handle their own money and financial affairs; they may appoint someone else like a power of attorney to handle their business.
Patients have the right to privacy, and are allowed to keep their personal belongings as long as it does not interfere, or impose on another’s rights.
Individuals have the right to seek medical care by their physician of choice, have access to their medical records, and refuse treatments and/or medications.
Patients that reside in a nursing home have every right to be treated with kindness and in the most humane way. Recognizing nursing home abuse and neglect as quickly as possible is key. Being observant and knowing how to distinguish if something is wrong helps the patient get the best possible care. They should have the ability to make independent choices, have unrestricted and private conversations, be treated with dignity, have the option of placing a complaint if they choose, or have a concern addressed in a timely fashion.
Just because someone is a resident in a nursing home does not mean they are stripped of everything; patients have rights.
Choosing a Nursing Home
As the old adage goes, “Knowledge is power.” The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, collects data on more than 15,000 nursing homes around the country each year. The information is then compiled on Medicare.gov where you can search and compare overall rankings. But, keep in mind, government rankings are limited and reflect a short period of performance.
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