Long Term Care Facility/Nursing Home patients/residents have rights. These rights have certain protections under the law. The long term care facility must list and give all new residents a copy of these rights upon admission. These rights should also be addressed with the patient(s) at least annually.
Resident(s) rights usually include:
- Respect: A patient/resident has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Some examples are as follows:
- A patient/resident should never be treated like a child or talked “down” to.
- At no time should any staff member yell at the patient/resident or call them names.
- The patient/resident should always be called by their proper name.
- The patient’s/resident’s dignity must be protected while using the restroom or while dressing. The curtains should always be drawn and the door closed. Staff must not before entering.
- Services and Fees: Each resident/patient must be informed in writing about services provided and fees before they enter the nursing home. Some of the things that need to be discussed are:
- Their insurance coverage. Those that have Medicare, for example, have 100 days of coverage. The first 20 days are at 100% and on day 21 the co-insurance days begin. The fees will vary depending on the facility. If the patient/resident has Medicare/Medi-cal there may be no co-insurance. The Medi-cal patient/resident often times has a share of cost . The facility is required to give full disclosure of the amount.
- Covered services that are a part of your room and board.
- Barber/hair-dresser cost
- Medical services included such as podiatry and vision care.
- Money: Every patient/resident has the right to manage their own money or to choose someone else they trust to do this for them.
- Privacy: The patient/resident has the right to privacy, and to keep and use their personal belongings and property as long as it doesn’t interfere with the rights, health, or safety of others. Things to keep in mind are:
- Because of the HIPAA regulations facilities are not allowed to disclose private medical information to the families. Privacy of the patient/resident is critical even if the family believes they are entitled to the information. The only time medical information disclosure to someone other than the patient is allowed is when there is a POA(Power of Attorney) for health care appointed and it is in effect. The POA only takes over when the patient/resident no longer has capacity to make decisions, which is determined by the physician. The POA in this case would be the only one that would be able to obtain medical information. All other family members cannot gain access to the requested information.
- All mail must be given to the patient/resident unopened. If the patient needs help opening the mail or reading the mail the facility can have a staff member assist them.
- Items such as scissors, metal nail files, and pocket knives are a danger to others. These items should not be brought into a facility if possible. But if the resident feels they need these items ask for a locked drawer or lock-box to store them in.
- Medical Care: The patient has the right to be informed about his/her medical condition, medications, and to see their own doctor.
- The patient/resident can refuse medications and treatments. The patient must be informed by the appropriate medical staff (i.e. the doctor or charge nurse) of all the possible outcomes.
- The patient/resident may see their own physician. If their physician does not follow their care at the facility the patient can choose to make other arrangements to see their primary care physician.
- The patient/resident also has the right to change physicians. The facility staff must assist the patient in finding a more suitable physician at the request of the resident or person designated to make decisions.
Patients/residents are people too and they deserve respect. Just because they are in a Nursing Home does not mean that they cannot make decisions for themselves nor does it mean that they has less of a citizen. Cherish our elderly.