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What Are the Legal Rights of Nursing Home Residents?

When we make the difficult decision to move a loved one into a nursing home, we expect them to be treated with dignity, and respect and be properly cared for. Nursing homes have a legal and ethical obligation to protect the rights of their residents. Unfortunately, cases of nursing home abuse and neglect are far too common.

As the loved one of a nursing home resident, it’s important to understand their rights under federal and state law. Being aware of these rights can help you recognize signs of potential abuse or neglect and take appropriate legal action.

The Nursing Home Reform Act

nursing home abuse and neglect

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act established a set of national minimum standards of care and rights for nursing home residents. This law applies to any nursing home that accepts Medicare or Medicaid payments.

Under this Act, nursing home residents have the following enumerated rights:

  • The right to freedom from abuse, neglect, and restraints
  • The right to privacy
  • The right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs
  • The right to participate in resident and family groups
  • The right to be treated with dignity
  • The right to exercise self-determination
  • The right to communicate freely
  • The right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal

These rights help ensure nursing home residents maintain their autonomy, dignity, and quality of life as much as possible. The Act requires nursing homes to protect and promote these rights for every resident.

Indiana Nursing Home Resident Rights

In addition to the federal Nursing Home Reform Act, Indiana has its own Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights under state law. This Bill of Rights mirrors many of the federal provisions while adding some additional protections as well.

Some key rights for Indiana nursing home residents include:

  • The right to be informed in advance about services and fees
  • The right to manage their own finances or designate a manager
  • The right to free choice of a personal physician
  • The right to participate in care planning and refuse treatment
  • The right to confidentiality of medical records
  • Protection from chemical and physical restraints
  • The right to access recent inspection reports for the facility

Essentially, these laws aim to ensure nursing home residents are treated as individuals, provided with quality care, and have their autonomy and decision-making respected to the fullest extent possible.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

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Even with these resident rights protections in place, abuse and neglect continue to be major issues in many nursing home facilities. 

It’s important for residents’ loved ones to be aware of potential signs, including:

  • Bedsores or other preventable skin conditions
  • Bruises, cuts, or other unexplained injuries
  • Sudden weight loss or dehydration
  • Poor hygiene or lack of bathing
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Changes in emotional state or demeanor
  • Missing belongings or money

If you notice any potential signs of abuse, neglect, or violations of your loved one’s rights, it’s crucial to speak up and consider legal action. An experienced nursing home abuse attorney can review the circumstances, ensure any ongoing abuse or neglect is stopped, and help seek compensation for any injuries or losses.

Contact Crossen Law Firm to Protect Your Loved One

Nursing homes are entrusted with caring for our loved ones during a vulnerable time – they must be held fully accountable when they violate that trust through abuse, neglect, or disregard for resident rights.

At Crossen Law Firm, we understand how devastating it can be to discover a loved one has been mistreated in a nursing home setting. Our compassionate team will fight tirelessly to protect your family member’s rights and seek justice. Contact us today at 317-401-8626 or online for a free, confidential consultation regarding any potential nursing home abuse or neglect case.