The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 introduced significant changes to the law governing nursing homes. The Act aims to establish a Residents’ Bill of Rights, ensure that nursing home residents receive quality care, and provide specific services.

These requirements apply to nursing homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid.

The Control of Nursing Facilities

The laws of your state and the federal government both apply to nursing facilities. The federal government passed the Nursing Home Reform Act in 1987.

The purpose of this law is to guarantee that nursing home residents receive high-quality care. The statute defined the services that nursing homes must offer and the requirements for such services.

They consist of:

  • Services in nursing, pharmacy, and rehabilitation
  • Health examinations of residents regularly
  • Individualized care plans for each resident

What Are a Few Residents’ Rights in Nursing Homes?

Although some patients are younger with specific rehabilitative needs, nursing home residents are mainly elderly people.

In general, nursing home residents are entitled to various rights pertaining to their living conditions, medical care, and personal requirements.

Residents at nursing homes are entitled to the following:

  • Medicaid and Medicare rights; unable to be asked to leave due to benefits
  • Privacy rights (e.g., in their residential rooms, belongings, clothes, documents, etc.)
  • A right to information about their health insurance and to take part in preparing for it
  • The right to equality, particularly when applying for residency
  • The freedom to decline medical care
  • The right not to be subjected to bodily or mental exploitation or neglect
  • Confidentiality of their medical records is a right.
  • They are given advance notice when their rights are transferred or taken to another care facility.
  • Relative visits are permitted as long as they don’t interfere with therapy.

The biggest worry regarding nursing home rights is whether exercising those rights will jeopardize the person’s ability to get medical care. Sometimes, a person’s medical requirements may come before some rights. Most cases involving nursing homes are founded on negligence grounds.

Bill of Rights for Residents of Nursing Homes

The Nursing Home Reform Act also created the Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights, which is composed of the following:

  • The right to be abuse-free
  • The privilege of privacy
  • The freedom from prejudice when filing complaints against a home
  • The right to be treated with respect

What Services Are Required by the Act?

The Act mandates that inhabitants get several services. These consist of:

  • Periodic evaluations of every resident
  • A detailed care strategy for each person
  • Nursing assistance
  • Social assistance
  • Therapeutic services
  • Medication services
  • Food services
  • A full-time social worker if the facility has more than 120 beds.

How Are the Act’s Provisions Enforced?

States must carry out sporadic, unannounced surveys at least once every 15 months. Sanctions against a care home that is not in compliance may include:

  • Supervised employee training during work hours
  • Planned course of correction
  • State oversight
  • Penalties for civil offenses
  • All new Medicare or Medicaid admissions will not be reimbursed
  • All Medicaid or Medicare patients will not be paid
  • Temporary leadership
  • Cancellation of the provider contract

Nursing Home Abuse Warning Signs

Several warning flags of elder abuse or maltreatment in nursing homes include:

  • Bed sores, bruising, or injuries
  • Excessive loss of weight
  • Dehydration
  • Contaminated circumstances

Contact the nursing home administrator and lodge a complaint if you believe that you or a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or that the facility has broken the Nursing Home Reform Act. You should also speak with your state agency about the infraction. In order to sue the nursing home for damages, you can also employ a lawyer.

What Does “Bedhold Period” Mean?

The number of days a resident’s bed is available while receiving treatment or rehabilitation is referred to as the bedhold period. The resident might need to leave the care facility for a while as they recover from surgery. The nursing home should discuss what will happen to the resident’s beds or rooms while they are away.

Bedhold times are typically specified in the agreement between the nursing home and the resident. If a patient is away from home for a long time, there is a chance that they will lose their place in the nursing home.

In contrast, during the bedhold period, the nursing home is prohibited from lending the patient’s bed or room to another person. They must typically give advance notice if the bedhold time is about to be exceeded.

What Happens if These Rights Are Infringed?

Residents can file a civil lawsuit against the nursing home facility if their legal rights are infringed. They can typically receive monetary damages to compensate for their financial losses. This can involve paying medical bills, discomfort, and other difficulties. In serious circumstances, an administrative agency may look into the facility’s general standards of care.

Depending on the case’s circumstances, the nursing home resident may file a lawsuit against individuals or organizations who are accountable (liable) for their damages.

Examples comprise:

  • Proprietors and managers of the nursing home
  • Staff members of the business
  • Professionals at the facility that provides medical care, such as doctors

Legal professionals that commit fraud or scams frequently infringe the privacy of their clients.

A plaintiff in a nursing facility or care home case might need to retain a lawyer to help with document filing and other procedures. This might be due to the resident’s senior age or the possibility that he isn’t cognitively able to make judgments. In these situations, it could be necessary to employ a power of attorney or to retain legal counsel.

Can Patients Who Aren’t Being Disruptive Be Transferred from One Nursing Home to Another?

A resident may be forced to move quickly and involuntarily under certain conditions. Examples include the facility losing its certification or the staff going on strike. Additionally, if a transfer is required for the resident’s safety and well-being or for the safety and well-being of others, it can be carried out.

If this happens, special plans are usually made to move the resident to a different housing facility.

Can a Disruptive Patient Be Forced Against Their Will to Leave a Nursing Home?

A nursing home resident cannot be relocated unless:

  • They have medical requirements that the facility is unable to meet
  • Their health has greatly improved to the point where no longer need for treatment exists.
  • They put others’ health or safety at risk inside the building.
  • Inability to pay for services rendered or nursing home closure

Can a Disruptive Patient Be Moved to a Different Nursing Home?

If given 30 days’ written notice, the reasons for the transfer, and instructions on contesting the move, a disruptive patient may be transferred to another nursing facility.

There are different hearing processes in each state.

Can Residents of Nursing Homes Get Out and Live Somewhere Else?

Residents do indeed have the freedom to relocate. However, most nursing homes demand that they be informed in advance. Doctors’ recommendations, health insurance, and medical care are the responsibility of the patients and their families.

How Do I Handle a Nursing Home Reform Act Violation?

You might consider contacting a personal injury attorney if your rights under the Nursing Home Reform Act are infringed. You can submit a complaint against the nursing home and obtain compensation for any injuries you may have sustained with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney.