When a senior is placed in a nursing home, they gain a set of “residents’ rights” as mandated by both Florida law and federal law. These rights are meant to empower nursing home patients by giving them the ability to control decisions regarding their medical treatment and personal care and to help ensure that their safety and best interests are being catered to by the facility.
In addition to the individual’s basic rights as a citizen, nursing home residents also have rights to help provide them with a safe and secure living environment.
Some of these include (but are not limited to):
- The right to be treated fairly and with respect and dignity.
- The right to be free of abuse, both mentally and physically.
- The right to receive adequate health care and protective services.
- The right to confidentiality in treatment and personal care.
- The right to choose a physician and pharmacy, within reason.
- The right to refuse treatment and the right to take part in the planning of proposed treatment and care.
- The right to opt out of performing services for the facility that are not intended to be therapeutic or part of the patient’s care plan.
- The right to retain and use personal items, such as clothing and possessions, as space permits, as long as it does not affect the rights of other residents.
- The right to manage his or her own finances. If the patient gives the facility written responsibility to manage their finances, the resident has the right to a quarterly account of financial transactions made on their behalf.
- The right to be informed, in writing and orally, of services available, including medical treatments and therapy.
- The right to participate or organize resident groups.
- The right to participate in various social, religious and community activities.
- The right to have established visiting hours.
- The right to visitation, whether by family and friends, clergy and social workers or by individuals providing health, social, legal or other services. Additionally, residents have the right to privacy during visitation.
- The right for critically ill patients to have visitors at any time, unless the resident is medically prohibited from having visitors.
- The right to private communication, including the ability to send and receive personal mail without censorship.
- The right of access to telephones, both for making and receiving confidential calls.
- The right to view results of recent nursing home inspections, including the facility’s plan of correction if applicable.
- The right to present grievances and recommend changes without the fear of repercussion or retaliation.
- The right to notification prior to room or roommate changes.
- The right to only be transferred or discharged for medical reasons, the safety of other residents or the nonpayment of expenses.
- The right to receive a 30 day written notice in the event of discharge or relocation. The resident also has the right to challenge such notice.