Nursing homes should be places where the elderly feel cared for and safe, but, unfortunately, that’s not always the case. While the law may maintain high standards for nursing homes in New York, sometimes facilities don’t live up to expectations – and terrible events happen as a result.
A sad case in Spring Valley brings this point home. One person died, several were injured, and a firefighter remains missing after a blaze tore through an assisted living facility. Officials don’t yet know what caused the deadly inferno.
If you or someone you love lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility in New York, then it’s vital to understand their rights afforded by law. Here’s what you need to know.
The Resident’s Bill of Rights
Under the Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing home residents have rights, referred to as the Resident’s Bill of Rights. This requires that anyone residing in a nursing home receives care to meet their psychological and physical needs.
The law specifies that nursing homes provide a certain standard of care to their patients. That standard comprises the following:
- Periodic assessments
- Nursing services
- Pharmaceutical services
- Social services
- Comprehensive care plan
- Full-time social service provider (for facilities with 120 or more beds)
- Rehabilitations when necessary
The nursing home must also respect their residents’ rights, which include the right to:
- Be treated with dignity
- Live in an environment free of abuse, mistreatment, or neglect – an environment where the resident is comfortable
- Privacy (at a reasonable level)
- Remain fully informed of their care plan with the ability to review that plan
- Live without fear or worry of physical restraint
- Express any grievances without fear of discrimination or reprisal
- Take part in activities with other residents and family
- Freedom of speech and communication
Enforcement of NY Patient’s Rights
The Nursing Home Reform Act established the Patient’s Bill of Rights in order to set the highest quality of care possible in nursing homes. But what is done to ensure this is actually happening?
In answer, Medicare and Medicaid funding depends on the nursing facility’s compliance with these laws. In other words, it’s in their best interest to meet requirements to receive funding. If they fail to do so, they may miss Medicare or Medicaid compensation for their services.
What To Do If Your Rights are Violated in NY
If you feel your rights as a nursing home resident have been violated at any time in the past or present, speak with the administrator of the facility. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, you should consult with an attorney. They can assess the situation where you live and support you in the fight to protect your rights.
Everyone, no matter the stage of life, has rights. It’s the right of those who live in nursing homes to live in safety and security, without worry for their wellbeing. If that isn’t happening, immediate remedial action must be taken.