The Nursing Home Reform Law was passed by the federal government in 1987 to guarantee fundamental rights to all residents of nursing homes. Nursing home residents have a legal right to be treated with respect and dignity – without mistreatment or abuse of any kind – while receiving the levels of care they need. Under Illinois state law, residents also have the rights to file complaints and grievances without fear of reprisal and be fully informed of every aspect of their care in the facility.
Here are some other fundamental rights of nursing home residents:
Participate in Decision-Making
Nursing home residents have the right to participate in the management of their own medical care. Residents should be fully informed of each and every change in their medical condition and may also refuse certain treatments or medications. This participation also applies to assessments and evaluations, planning for future care, making treatment-related decisions, refusing physical or chemical restraints, reviewing one’s own medical records, and being discharged from the facility.
Nursing home residents have the right to privacy and confidentiality regarding their medical conditions and treatments, finances, and personal lives; these rights extend to private and unrestricted communication with other individuals. The resident’s legal consent is necessary for others to know his/her personal medical needs and requirements, and residents are also legally protected against discrimination under federal, state, and local laws.
Freedom from Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home residents have the right to be free of abuse of any kind, be it physical, mental, verbal, or sexual, as well as physical restraints or sedative medications. Nursing homes also cannot separate residents from certain individuals against their will.
Optimal Health Care
Nursing home residents have the right to have an active role in developing their personal care plans. Nursing homes should honor residents’ unique needs and preferences, such as assistance with sensory impairment or physical mobility. Residents may choose their schedules and activities and may generally refuse a feeding tube except in certain last-resort cases for the patient’s survival.
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