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Patients' Bill of Rights

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In 1987, Congress passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA), known as the Nursing Home Reform Act. The act specifies rights Ė a Patientsí Bill of Rights Ė that are to be posted in each nursing home, and to which each resident is entitled. Among those rights are the following:


The right to be informed of all legal rights at the home

Each resident, orally and in writing at the time of admission to the facility, must be informed of his or her legal rights during the stay at the facility and of the requirements and procedures of establishing eligibility for medical assistance under the law.

The right to be informed of the services and charges of the home

Each resident must be informed of the services provided by the facility. The resident must also be informed which services are covered by Medicare or Medicaid under the law, and which are the responsibility of the resident.

The right to free choice regarding care, treatment, and physician

Each resident has the right to choose a personal attending physician and to be fully informed in advance about his or her own care and treatment. He or she also has the right to be fully informed in advance of any changes in care or treatment that may affect his or her well-being, and to participate in planning or changes of any care and treatment.

The right to be free from abuse or restraints

Each resident has the right to be free from physical or mental abuse, corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion, and any physical or chemical restraints imposed for purposes of discipline or convenience of the facility.

The right to privacy

Each resident has the right to privacy with regard to accommodations and medical treatment. He or she also has the right to privacy in written and telephonic communications, and in visits and meetings of family and resident groups.

The right to dignity and respect

Each resident has the right to be treated with dignity and respect in full recognition of his or her individuality.

The right to confidentiality

Each resident has the right to confidentiality of personal and clinical records, and to have access to current clinical records within 24 hours of making a request.

The right to voice grievances without retaliation

Each resident has the right to voice grievances with respect to furnished (or unfurnished) treatment or care, without discrimination or reprisal.

The right to participation in resident and family groups

Each resident has the right to organize and participate in resident groups in the facility, and the residentís family has the right to meet in the facility with families of other residents.

The right to participate in social, religious and community activities

Each resident has the right to participate in social, religious, and community activities that do not interfere with the rights of other residents in the facility.

The right to examine survey results

Each resident has the right to examine the results of the most recent survey of the facility conducted by the state.

The right to be transferred or discharged only for certain reasons

Each resident has the right to remain in the facility and not be transferred or discharged unless it is necessary to meet the residentís welfare, or to prevent endangering the health or safety of other individuals in the facility; or if the resident has not paid as legally required.

The right to access and visitation

Each resident must be permitted immediate access by any representative of the state or the residentís physician. The resident, with his or her consent, must also be permitted access by immediate family members and other relatives, and by visiting friends. And the resident must be permitted immediate access by those providing health, social, legal or other services to the resident, as well as to the stateís ombudsman.

The right to protection of funds

Each resident has the right not to deposit their personal funds with the facility; however, if the resident authorizes such deposit in writing, then the facility must hold, safeguard, and account for the resident's funds under a system established and maintained by the facility in accordance with the law.

If rights are violated...

If you believe a loved one's rights have been violated, and you are otherwise unable to satisfactorily remedy the situation, call (800) 215-1190 to learn more about your options or to arrange a consultation with a qualified Elder Abuse attorney.

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