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RIGHTS OF NURSING HOME RESIDENTS

Residents’ Rights are guaranteed by the federal 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law. The law requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident” and places a strong emphasis on individual dignity and self-determination.  The Act requires each nursing home to care for its residents in a manner that promotes and enhances the quality of life of each resident, ensuring dignity, choice, and self-determination.  All nursing homes are required “to provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care that… is initially prepared, with participation, to the extent practicable, of the resident, the resident’s family, or legal representative.” This means a resident should not decline in health or well-being as a result of the way a nursing facility provides care.
The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law protects the following rights of nursing home residents:(1) the Right to Be Fully Informed of available services and the charges for each service; (2) the Right to Complain and present grievances to staff or any other person, without fear of reprisal and with prompt efforts by the facility to resolve those grievances; (3) the Right to Participate in One’s Own Care, participate in their own assessment, care-planning, treatment, and discharge; (4) the Right to Privacy and Confidentiality; and (5) the Right to be treated with consideration, respect, and dignity.

Recently, the Nevada Legislature enacted new laws to improve the quality of care and services in skilled nursing care facilities as well.  Senate Bill 129 of the 2011 Legislative Session established elder abuse training requirements for new applicants and existing licensees.  The training on elder abuse must be applicable for the facility type and must cover recognizing elder abuse, including sexual abuse, responding to reports of alleged abuse, instructions concerning the federal, state and local laws relating to elder abuse.

If you believe a facility has violated your loved one’s rights, you can file a complaint with the Nevada’s Long Term Care Ombudsman.  This Program was established under federal mandate through the Older American’s Act and was initiated to improve the quality of care in America’s nursing homes. The word Ombudsman is of Swedish origin meaning advocate. In Nevada, the Ombudsmen are called “Elder Rights Advocates”.

REMEMBER:  Finding an appropriate facility is only the first step.  Thereafter, you must continue to be an advocate for your loved one to ensure they receive the highest quality care.  At the Law Offices of Lee A. Drizin, Chtd., our “Families in Transition” Program offers services beyond the traditional services one would expect from a law firm.  We assist families who need guidance in selecting a facility for a loved one, as well as monitor their transition into assisted and skilled nursing care.  We also offer these services for those who live outside of the state of Nevada and those that are involved in an “Out of State Guardianship”.  To learn more about the “Families in Transition” Program or our Las Vegas Guardianship services please contact our law firm at 702-798-4955 or email: info@DrizinElderLaw.com.