Legal $ense Monthly

October 2015

October is Resident Rights Month

            In 1987 Congress passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987. This act dramatically impacted the standards of care in nursing homes emphasizing quality of life as well as quality of care. Under OBRA 87, guidelines for resident's rights were created, reinforcing the fact that long-term care residents should be given the same respect, and opportunities as an individual living in the community.
            Below is synopsis of the rights held by nursing home residents:
MEDICAL CARE You have a right to . . .
  • choose your own attending physician and make your own decisions about medical care or refuse treatment
  • be informed in advance of changes in your care or treatment
The facility must . . .
  • report an alleged violation involving your treatment to the appropriate officials
  • investigate all alleged violations and report the results of the investigation
PERSONAL RIGHTS You have a right to . . .
  • privacy when meeting with your doctor, family, friends or resident groups
  • send and receive mail that is unopened
  • a private place to make and receive phone calls
  • reasonable accommodation of your personal needs and preferences, including the right to plan your own daily activities, wear your own clothes, and keep and use your own furniture and belongings as space allows
  • present grievances to staff, state officials or the ombudsperson without reprisal or discrimination
TRANSFER AND DISCHARGE You may be transferred or discharged only . . .
  • if necessary for the health or safety of you or other residents
  • for nonpayment
  • if you no longer require the services of the facility
  • if the facility closes
You have a right to . . .
  • receive 30 days' advance written notice of any transfer or discharge, except in emergency situations
  • appeal any transfer or discharge to a State agency
  • receive advance notice of the facility's policy for holding a resident's bed before any transfer for hospitalization or therapeutic leave
  • refuse to be transferred from a "Medicare-certified bed" to a "non-Medicare certified bed" and vice versa
YOUR FUNDS You have a right to . . .
  • manage your own finances unless a guardian or conservator has been appointed for you, and the facility may not require you to deposit funds with the facility
The facility must . . .
  • hold, safeguard and account for your personal funds if you give written authority
  • deposit personal funds in excess of $50 in a separate interest-bearing account and provide you with a complete accounting of all transactions involving your funds
ABUSE You have the right to . . .
  • be free from verbal, mental, physical or sexual abuse, corporal punishment or involuntary seclusion
The facility must . . .
  • implement procedures that protect you from abuse, neglect or mistreatment and misappropriation of your property
FACILITY POLICY You have the right to . . .
  • be informed both orally and in writing at the time of your admission of your rights during your stay at the facility
The facility must . . .
  • have the same policies and practices of transfer, discharge and provision of services for all residents, regardless of source of payment.
At Elder Law Solutions we concentrate our practice in estate, long-term care and special needs planning. We are located on the North Shore and have a strong commitment to client service.  If you have questions about these or other legal matters, do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail by clicking here or by calling us at (978) 465- 5407.  

Elder Law Solutions
Margot G. Birke, Esq.                                        www.elderlaw-solutions.com
One Harris Street                                              info@elderlaw-solutions.com
Newburyport, MA 01950
(978) 465- 5407