Legal Rights Of Patients Residing In Elderly Nursing Homes

The laws in the United States of America have provided certain legal rights to those patients who reside in elderly nursing homes. Awareness regarding these rights is very important. Many times, patients do not get fair treatment in these centers. Therefore, it is important to know what actions should be taken when these rights get violated.

Respect

To start with, nursing home residents have the right to get respect. They have the right to be called by any formal name or nickname they prefer. Visitors or nursing home staff members may not use them as subjects of ridicule. Besides that, they may not be forced to attend or not attend specific activities, such as field trips or worship services. It is entirely up to the patients to decide which activities they should participate and which ones they should not participate in. Any type of neglect or abuse by staff members is strictly prohibited. The elderly nursing homes must fulfill the basic needs of all the patients (such as food, clothing, and cleanliness) without resorting to anger or violence.

Restraints

There are also certain legal regulations regarding the use of restraints. Restraints refer to all such activities that restrict patient movements. The elderly care centers can use specific restraints (such as bedside rails, wrist wraps, vests, and other such things) only if it is necessary to protect the patient. The restraints must also be checked thoroughly on a regular basis to make sure that patients are not being hurt because of that. If there are signs of skin breakdown (such as redness) or when the risks pass away, the restraints must be removed immediately.

Fees And Services

Elderly nursing homes must charge fees on the basis of the kind of services opted by the patient. Before getting admission, the patient must be clearly informed about the different kind of services that are available here and how much they cost. Patients have the right to choose only those services that are suitable for them. They must be charged only for those selected services.

Use Of Money

The residents of these elderly care centers are also free to use their money as they want. The nursing facility may not force the patients to put their money in a banking system (which is common in many centers). Any such thing must be done only after the patients give their consent. The staff members of the facility are strictly prohibited from taking or borrowing money from the patients.

Privacy

Privacy is one of the most important aspects of the rights of patients residing in elderly nursing homes. People residing here have the right to privacy, especially in cases where they are getting personal care. Before giving such care, the visitors (if any) must first be asked to leave and window blinds, privacy curtains, and doors must be closed properly. Besides that, patients also have the right to keep their personal belongings to themselves while such care is being given except in cases where those belongings are disturbing other residents or interfering with the patient care.

The patients residing in elderly nursing homes also have the right to privacy when their spouses visit them.