Despite the conditions of people in nursing homes, medical personnel, caregivers, and the other residents themselves can subject patients to cruelty and maltreatment. The federal Nursing Home Reform Law and the various other state laws guarantee the rights of the residents. And yet, despite these measures of protection, as many as 150,000 residents of nursing homes report incidences of abuse. Almost 50% of nursing homes all over the country receive a below-average rating. This is an alarming scenario for senior citizens. It is no wonder that many of them abhor the thought of living in nursing homes.
Nursing homes should be a haven for senior citizens. There, they should be provided with the utmost care and medical attention. Above all, they have the right to dignified, decent, and respectful treatment. Their basic freedoms—privacy and security—shouldn’t be taken away from them when they enter these nursing homes.
Long-term care facilities for senior members of the family are not new. But in the past, these homes are where people go to wait for the day when they will pass away. Today, these facilities cater to a wide range of age groups. They can be home to post-surgical patients in their 30s who need care facilities until they finish their therapies.
It is important for the family members of seniors to know these rights. If the nursing home fails to uphold these rights, you can sue it for medical negligence. These facilities must abide by federal and state laws and regulations for them to participate in Medicare or Medicaid, the federal health insurance for people 65 years and older.
Free From Abuse, Mistreatment, and Neglect
Senior residents of nursing homes suffer from physical, sexual, and psychological abuse either by the staff or by other residents. Nursing homes shouldn’t have a working environment where these abuses can thrive. If you feel that you or members of your family are being abused by these nursing homes, call the attention of the administration and the appropriate state and federal agencies.
Security cameras inside the rooms of the patients must only be used to ensure that they are safe. Residents have the right to keep their personal, financial, and medical affairs private. This means that personnel and staff cannot talk about the residents’ lives and medical conditions with each other and even with their own families. The residents should also have unrestricted communication with people of their choosing. Remember that these are not prisoners. Their rights are the same as anyone else.
The residents and their families must have information about the medical services and appropriate charges. They should be well aware of how much they need to pay the nursing homes every month or quarter. At the same time, the family members have to be informed in advance about any changes in the fees associated with the care and treatment of the residents. There should be no changes in the fees because of race, religion, culture, heritage, or demographic background.
The residents can also handle their own money. Usually, nursing homes will not want the residents to keep hold of a large amount of money for security purposes. Instead, the nursing homes can open an account for their residents, so they can access the money securely whenever they want.
Residents have the right to voice their grievances without fear of discrimination or retaliation from the medical personnel and caregivers. This will empower residents to demand what they know they deserve in terms of care, attention, and access to social activities. When the nursing home receives complaints, they should record these grievances to their management. If the residents require a written complaint, the personnel should help them file it.
Above all else, every resident in a nursing home deserves to be respected. The staff of the nursing home should ensure that the residents live with dignity. They should treat them as members of their own families. Even though some residents may be hard to deal with, that is no reason for anyone in the nursing home staff to treat them with disrespect. This covers everyone in the facility—from the administrators to the cleaning personnel.
Family members of the residents should care about knowing the patients’ rights. This knowledge will help them ensure that their loved ones are getting the care that they deserve, and that the federal government said they should. Anytime that the nursing home fails in this regard, the residents and their family members should call their attention to it.