There were 15,600 nursing homes in the U.S. in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the purpose of nursing homes is to provide quality care to residents, sometimes the expected standard of care isn’t met. When that happens, it’s important that residents and their loved ones fully understand the rights afforded to nursing home residents.
About the Nursing Home Bill of Rights
In 1986, congress requested an investigative study into the treatment of nursing home patients. Because the Institute of Medicine identified neglect and abuse, they proposed intensive changes and the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 was born—codifying specific and important rights for nursing home patients.
In Virginia, Nursing Home Residents Have Rights
On the federal and state level, Virginia nursing home residents have specific rights, which protect them from neglect, verbal and physical abuse, and inadequate treatment. Virginia’s nursing home resident bill of rights includes and builds on the federal outline. If you or your parent is already in a home, or you’re considering putting your parent in a home, it’s important you understand the following rights. Every resident has the right to be:
- Fully informed about all his rights and the rules governing the home before and during his stay.
- Fully informed about all amenities, services, and costs associated with staying at the home.
- Fully informed about any negative findings related to the home, if any exist.
- Fully informed about his medical conditions, before and during his stay—which includes being involved in any medical decisions (and including loved ones in decisions).
- Transferred or discharged from the home only for medical reasons or his own welfare (and adequate notice is to be given if the resident cannot afford to stay).
- Free to voice concerns and complaints, and exercise all his rights.
- In control of his financial affairs and informed of financial transactions made in his name.
- Free from mental, physical, or chemical abuse.
- Afforded confidential medical treatment and confidentiality in personal records.
- Treated with respect and dignity, including privacy and other personal needs.
- Free from performing services for the facility not included in his plan of care.
- Free to communicate privately with whomever he chooses.
- Involved in any social or religious activities he chooses.
- In possession of any personal affects and clothing he chooses, as long as the rights of other patients are not compromised.
- Privately visited by his spouse, if married—or permitted to share a room with his spouse if both are residents in the same home.
If You Need Legal Help, We’re Here
If you or someone you loved suffered neglect or abuse at the hands of a nursing home staff member or other resident, it’s important you get in contact with an attorney. At Tavss Fletcher, we’ve successfully defended the rights of Virginia nursing home residents, and we can help you, too. Contact us today by starting a live online chat on our website.