Nursing Home Residents Have Rights
Both the federal government and the Commonwealth of Kentucky make it clear that citizens do not give up their rights when they enter a nursing home, assisted living or other long-term care facility. In fact, both levels of government have enacted laws that include long lists of rights specific to residents of nursing homes. To help ensure compliance, both laws allow residents to obtain compensation from the nursing home when their rights are violated.
Below is a look at some of the rights guaranteed to Kentucky nursing home residents. If you believe your rights or those of a loved one in a nursing facility have been violated, contact our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at in Louisville for assistance.
Nursing Home Reform Act
Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) in 1987, after an Institute of Medicine study determined there was frequent abuse, neglect and inadequate care in the nation’s nursing homes. The NHRA mandates that residents receive quality care with the highest practicable attention paid to their mental, physical and social wellbeing.
Facilities are subject to surprise inspections every one to two years, along with targeted inspections whenever an actual complaint is filed. Nursing homes which violate the NHRA can be penalized by the state and may be required to compensate victims for the harm caused by a violation. The NHRA applies to all long-term care facilities which accept Medicare or Medicaid funding.
Some of the rights of residents under the NHRA include:
- The right to a dignified existence
- The right to exercise rights as a resident of the facility and as a citizen or resident of the United States, including filing a grievance concerning abuse or neglect, without interference or reprisal from the facility
- The right to be fully informed of his or her medical condition
- The right to choose his or her own doctor and participate in his or her care and treatment, including the right to refuse treatment
- The right to manage his or her financial affairs
- The right to personal privacy and confidentiality of personal and medical records, and to have access to all personal or medical records
Kentucky Nursing Home Residents’ Rights
Additionally, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has enacted a long list of resident rights, which include many of the federal rights but are also more detailed and extensive than the federal nursing home resident bill of rights. Some of the rights included among this list include:
- To be fully informed of all services available at the facility
- To be fully informed of resident rights and responsibilities
- To be fully informed of all service charges residents may be responsible for
- Residents may be transferred or discharged only for medical reasons, the resident’s or others’ welfare, or nonpayment
- Residents are encouraged to exercise rights and voice concerns without fear of reprisal
- The right to be free from mental and physical abuse, including unjustified use of chemical or physical restraints
- To receive confidential treatment of medical and personal records
- Residents may manage the use of personal funds
- The right to privacy for spousal visits
- The right to private communications with others
- Residents may not be detained against their will; they may go outside and leave the premises as they wish
- The right to be treated with consideration, respect and dignity
- The right to meet privately with facility inspectors
Kentucky law allows a resident or guardian to bring a lawsuit against a nursing home for violation of these rights, and to obtain actual and punitive damages for any deprivation or infringement of rights.
Residents who are successful in their lawsuit can also have their attorney’s fees and the costs of litigation paid for by the nursing home.
Stand Up For Your Rights As A Kentucky Nursing Home Resident
If you have a concern or complaint about your facility that you cannot resolve with staff or administration, try calling the Kentucky Long-Term Care Ombudsman in Frankfort for help resolving the matter.
If you believe your rights as a resident have been violated, or if you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in Kentucky, call the Slechter Law Firm in Louisville at 502-694-5407. You may also reach out to us online. We will go to work immediately to put a stop to any abuse or neglect, hold the facility accountable for its actions or negligence, and see that you are compensated for your harm.