When an elderly loved one is no longer able to live on his own, or you don’t have the right tools and resources to give him the care he needs at home, you may look to place him in a nursing home. Because nursing homes are expensive, and you may feel it’s difficult to trust strangers with the care of your elderly parent, you may spend weeks and months looking for just the right facility to care for your loved one. Additionally, you may have questions about what to do if your loved one experiences nursing home abuse or neglect.
The Nursing Home Patient Bill of Rights
The Federal Nursing Home Reform Act, under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA), gave nursing home patients a bill of rights. Under this bill of rights, each patient has the right to:
Be treated with respect.
Often, because elderly people appear frail, others treat them poorly by controlling them or treating them like children. However, every nursing home patient has the right to make his own schedule, participate in any activities he enjoys, and be treated with dignity.
Be free from discrimination.
Nursing homes can’t accept all applicants, but they must abide by federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender, age, sexuality, race, or religion.
Be free from abuse or neglect.
Some workers in nursing homes have been caught treating patients in an abusive manner or neglecting their needs entirely. Under the bill of rights, patients must always have access to their property and family members, and each patient is entitled to freedom from the following types of abuse:
Be free from restraints.
Patients should never be physically restrained or be given chemicals or drugs as a way of restraining them. Proper medical care. Because medical care is such an important component of keeping an elderly loved one in good mental and physical health, the list of rights in this section is long. Here are a few highlights from that list:
- Doctors should discuss a patient’s medical care and procedures in language he can understand
- Patients have the right to complain about or disagree with a doctor
- Patients can be involved in choosing a doctor
- Patients can be involved in choosing a course of action or creating advanced directives
- Patients have the right to keep their family or friends involved
Do You Believe Your Loved One Has Been Subjected To Nursing Home Abuse?
If you feel your loved one has been subjected to nursing home abuse or neglect you need to speak with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help clients in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.