The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 made substantial reforms to nursing home legislation. The Act is aimed at ensuring that nursing home residents receive quality care, provide certain services and establish a Residents’ Bill of Rights. These standards apply to nursing homes participating in Medicare and Medicaid.

What Services Does the Act Require?

The Act establishes that certain services are to be provided for residents. These include:

  • Periodic assessments for each resident
  • Comprehensive care plan for each resident
  • Nursing services
  • Social services
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Pharmaceutical services
  • Dietary services
  • A full-time social worker if there are more than 120 beds in the facility

How Are the Provisions of the Act Enforced?

States are required to conduct unannounced surveys at irregular intervals at least once every 15 months. If a nursing home is out of compliance the home may be subject to sanctions including:

  • Directed in-service training of staff
  • Directed plan of correction
  • State monitoring
  • Civil monetary penalties
  • Denial of payment for all new Medicare or Medicaid admissions
  • Denial of payment for all Medicaid or Medicare patients
  • Temporary management
  • Termination of the provider agreement

What Is the Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights?

The Nursing Home Reform Act guarantees residents the right to:

  • Participate in reviewing one’s care plan and in developing an individualized plan of care for their stay (and to be fully informed about any changes in care)
  • Choose their own doctor
  • Have their needs and preferences respected
  • Voice grievances without fear of reprisal
  • Privacy
  • Freedom from abuse and physical restraints, mistreatment, and neglect
  • Receive mail unopened
  • Manage their finances
  • Participate in resident councils
  • Associate freely with people and groups of their choosing
  • Visit privately with spouses and to have family visits
  • Share a room with a resident spouse
  • Be treated with dignity

What Should I Do If My Nursing Home Violates the Nursing Home Reform Act?

If you feel that your rights under the Nursing Home Reform Act are being violated you should consider contacting a personal injury lawyer. An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can help you file a complaint against the nursing home and recover damages for any injuries you have suffered.