Nursing Homes Assisted Living & Other Facilities

1. What are the rights of nursing home residents?

Nursing homes provide nursing, rehabilitative and health-related care and services that cannot be provided outside an institutional setting. Residents of a nursing home have the same rights as they had when they lived in an apartment or their home. They pay the nursing home monthly for room, board and medical services. The nursing home is, on the one hand, the landlord of the resident for room and board, and on the other hand, the employee of the resident for medical services.

Ordinarily, upon entry into the nursing home, the resident or a family member signs a contract setting out the terms of payment, price for each service, and so forth. The resident and the family also get a copy of the nursing home residents rights, which include such things as the right to privacy; to manage one’s own finances; to unrestricted personal visitation; to present complaints without fear of reprisal; to equal access to quality care without regard to source of payment; to a written plan of care and services; and to free choice of one’s physician.

If the resident does not haveenough money to pay for nursing home care, or runs out of money after paying privately, there are governmental programs that may pay for the care, including veterans if benefits, Medicaid and General Assistance. If a nursing home is Medicaid-certified, the facility cannot evict a resident because he or she becomes eligible for Medicaid. However, not all facilities accept Medicaid, and those that do not are permitted to discharge residents for failure to pay for their care. There are waiting lists for nursing home beds in many parts of the state, and those lists are longer for applicants who will enter as Medicaid or General Assistance eligibles than for those with substantial private resources.

The only way to be evicted from a nursing home is for non-payment, or if you are endangering yourself or others. Even then, there are notice requirements and the nursing home must find an appropriate facility to which you can go before the eviction can proceed. (A resident can always leave the facility for overnight visits or discharge him or herself).

Continue Reading