Your Rights and Protections as a Nursing Home Resident
What are my rights in as a nursing home resident?
As a nursing home resident, you have certain rights and protections under Federal and State law
that help ensure you get the care and services you need.
1) You have the right to be informed, make your own decisions, and have your personal information kept private.
The nursing home must tell you about these rights and explain them in writing in a language you
understand. They must also explain in writing how you should act and what you’re responsible
for while you’re in the nursing home. This must be done before or at the time you’re admitted, as
well as during your stay. You must acknowledge in writing that you got this information.
At a minimum, Federal law specifies that nursing homes must protect and promote the following
rights of each nursing home resident. You have the right to:
2) Be Treated with Respect: You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, as well
as make your own schedule and participate in the activities you choose. You have the right to
decide when you go to bed, rise in the morning, and eat your meals.
3)Participate in Activities:
You have the right to participate in an activities program designed
to meet your needs and the needs of the other residents.
4) Be Free from Discrimination: Nursing homes don’t have to accept all applicants, but they
must comply with Civil Rights laws that say they can’t discriminate based on race, color,
national origin, disability, age, or religion. The Department of Health and Human Services,
Office for Civil Rights has more information. Visit http://www.hhs.gov/ocr.
Be Free from Abuse and Neglect: You have the right to be free from verbal, sexual,
physical, and mental abuse. Nursing homes can’t keep a nursing home resident apart from everyone else against
your will. If you feel you have been mistreated (abused) or the nursing home isn’t meeting
your needs (neglect), report this to the nursing home, your family, your local Long-Term
Care Ombudsman, or State Survey Agency. The nursing home must investigate and report all
suspected violations and any injuries of unknown origin within 5 working days of the
incident to the proper authorities.
Be Free from Restraints: Nursing homes can’t use any physical restraints (like side rails) or
chemical restraints (like drugs) to discipline you for the staff’s own convenience.
Make Complaints: You have the right to make a complaint to the staff of the nursing home,
or any other person, without fear of punishment. The nursing home must address the issue
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.