What rights do West Virginia nursing home residents have?

Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on May 24, 2012 in Nursing Home Information

The Federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 was spurred by a federal investigation that found shockingly high rates of abuse and neglect in the U.S. nursing home industry. While instances of abuse and neglect are still far too common in our nation's nursing homes , the law did, in fact, improve that deplorable situation by establishing new standards of care, facility requirements and a more thorough certification process for nursing homes nationwide. It also created a nursing home resident's "Bill of Rights."

Though copies of both the West Virginia and federal bills should be conspicuously posted in any residential nursing care facility, many residents and family members remain unaware of these important rights -- which makes now as good a time as any to briefly cover them for our readers.

  • Nursing home residents have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Nursing home residents have the right to exercise self-determination, which includes being allowed to set their own schedules, choose which activities to participate in and manage their own finances.
  • Nursing home residents have the right to freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect, which includes verbal abuse and threats as well as actual physical or sexual abuse.
  • Nursing home residents have the right to freedom from the use of unnecessary physical restraints and chemical restraints.
  • Nursing home residents have the right to privacy, which includes access to private visits and communications by phone, mail or e-mail.
  • Nursing home residents have the right to have their medical, physical, psychological, and social needs accommodated.
  • Nursing home residents have the right to participate in resident and family groups;
  • Nursing home residents have the right to communicate freely, which includes the right to complain without fear of punishment, discrimination or reprisal.
  • Nursing home residents must be informed, in writing, of all costs and fees prior to moving into a facility and have the right to be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or change of status in the facility.

Source: Daily Hampshire Gazette, "Residents' rights defined by law," Kristin Palpini, May 16, 2012

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