Monday, May 11, 2015

What are Our Rights in Nursing Homes?

Are you familiar with resident rights in nursing homes, adult family homes, and assisted living facilities?  There is extensive Washington state law addressing rights.
Here are a few for you (or via your power of attorney, or guardian).  Unfortunately the law in some states is not as robust in terms of protecting resident rights.
  • Safe, clean, comfortable and home like environment
  • Notice of rights, rules, and policies
  • Fees & notice disclosure
  • Approving your plan of care
  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Rights pertaining to transfer/discharge
  • Grievances are addressed
  • Control over funds/financial affairs
  • Protection from chemical/physical restraints
  • Personal property protection
  • Privacy for mail (arrives unopened) and phone calls
  • Privacy for visits
  • You do not have to sign waivers that release the facility of liability for losses of personal property or injury
Although most people would like their final days at home, many die in hospitals or nursing homes.  Society needs to be responsible so that we may have protections for personal dignity and also have strong advocates for us.  We actually gain many rights when in long term care, but often aren't informed.


  1. I have been reading with great interest your blogs. After working in hospice for the past 26 years I have learned a great deal about what really matters to those living with a life-limiting illness. My book, "Spirit Matters: How to Remain Fully Alive with a Life-Limiting Illness", can help the medical profession and the general public learn what really matters in the life and dying time of a very ill patient.
    Judy Flickinger, R.N., Author

  2. Would every state have information on nursing home rules and regulations pertaining to their state? My mom is getting to the point that the nursing home may be the route to go. I want to know the ins and outs of the nursing home system so that we can protect my mom from any potential problems in the future.

    1. There's a lot of leg work some of which can be done by a web search. I'd suggest searching terms such as "nursing home quality", "long term care ratings", "state nursing home surveys", "nursing home problems". Beyond that, talk to Social Workers and even consider paying for a few hours of their time. You could search "medical social workers long term care". Once you have a list, go visit at least three of them. Costs and services vary widely. The services vary from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing to memory care. Sometimes Adult Family Homes are a good option. Hope this helps.

  3. Very nice place for seniors citizens. These communities are specially made for senior citizens to safe and securely enjoy their life after retirement from job. Also its very difficult for everyone to care their parents due to busy lifestyle

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