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Nursing Home Residents Have Rights, Too

One of the biggest concerns an older family member may have about moving into a nursing home can be the perceived loss of his or her freedom. Meeting a friend for lunch, enjoying a cup of coffee, or staying up late to watch a movie are just a few of the things that they worry they will miss. But an article by Jennifer Zamora on Culpeper, Virginia’s StarExponent.com states that “when a person moves into a nursing home or any long-term care facility, he or she still has the right to make choices about their own life.”

The article goes on to say that residents do not lose any rights when they move into a nursing home. In fact, nursing home laws are made to protect the rights of residents. Through a written, agreed-upon care plan, nursing homes are required to provide services that maintain good health and emotional wellbeing.

Some other rights that residents should be aware of that are mentioned in the article include: the right to receive information and to be informed; the right to participate in the planning of care; the right to decide what social and religious activities to take part in; the right to decide what to wear; the right to privacy in care and confidentiality with regard to medical, personal or financial affairs; the right to be treated with dignity and respect; the right to be free from abuse and neglect; the right to be protected against transfer or discharge, unless for specific reasons; and the right to raise concerns or complaints without fear of punishment or retaliation.

If a nursing home resident needs help to exercise their rights, he or she may need the support of a family member or friend for assistance.

According to Zamora, it’s important to remember that “when a person moves into a nursing home or any long-term care facility, he or she still has the right to make choices about their own life.”