When you or a loved one need to move into a nursing home or other assisted living facility, it may seem like you have lost your ability to live independently in more ways than one. But we’re here to tell you that nursing home residents should not and cannot be treated differently than other people and age groups in the U.S.
That’s because all nursing home residents have many legal rights that protect them in a variety of ways.
The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law was enacted to protect the individual dignity and self-determination of all nursing home residents. Every state, including Louisiana, has a Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights outlining the rights you can or should expect when moving yourself or a loved one into a nursing home or other assisted living facility.
Louisiana Nursing Home Resident Rights
Do you know the rights you or your loved one can expect in your chosen nursing home? If not, that is a failing on the part of the nursing home! One of your rights is the right to be fully informed.
Every facility is legally required to display residents’ rights in several prominent locations at a proper height and in a print size legible for people with impaired vision, and they must also provide a copy at move-in to each resident.
Nursing home residents’ rights include but are not limited to:
- The right to make independent personal decisions, including selection of a physician and pharmacy
- The right to manage their own financial affairs
- The right to information about their medical condition, access to adequate treatment, information on proposed treatments, participation in planning medical treatments, privacy when receiving treatment, and the right to refuse treatment
- The right to private and uncensored communication (both mail and phone calls)
- The right to unrestricted access to visitors, both personal (such as family and friends) and professional (such as doctors, ombudsmen, clergy, and representatives of agencies responsible for resident welfare, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
- The right to make overnight visits with friends and family without losing their bed
- The right to file grievances with the nursing home and to government agencies responsible for resident welfare on their own behalf or on behalf of others, free from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal
- The right to receive assistance from the nursing home staff in exercising their civil and religious rights, including the right to join and be active in advocacy or special interest groups
- The right to be treated fairly and with dignity, free from mental and physical abuse
Have Your Rights, or the Rights of a Loved One, Been Violated?
Although all nursing home residents are legally promised respect and care, it doesn’t always happen. Nursing home abuse and neglect is a sad fact of life for many of Louisiana’s elderly, whether that abuse is physical, sexual, verbal, or financial.
If you’ve suffered abuse or suspect your loved one is being abused by nursing home staff or other residents, you need to act to keep yourself or them safe. Here’s how:
- If it’s an emergency, call 911 to bring paramedics and police to the scene.
- File a complaint with the nursing home and the Louisiana Department of Health, Health Standards Section in writing, including all relevant details, such as:
- names and titles of anyone involved
- dates of incidents
- photos of injuries or unsanitary conditions, if you have them
- witness statements, if you have them
- Call a lawyer. Nursing home abuse can be hard to prove, and unlike a one-time accident, it is often an ongoing issue unless it’s stopped.
We know nothing is more stressful than when you or your loved one is unhappy and at risk of harm, which is why we want to help. Contact Broussard & Hart today for a free nursing home abuse case consultation.