Informed Consent Rights in U. S. Nursing Homes

    Tennessee’s nursing home resident’s rights law closely follows the federal minimum standards. It does not provide a specific right to informed consent but residents do have the right to refuse treatment and to be informed of the consequences of that decision.
     While residents or their legal representative have the right to be informed and participate in the care plan process few actually participate.  The results of a small sample size review of records by the Office of Inspector General (July 2012) revealed less than 10% of residents or representatives participated in the care planning process.
     Congress attempted to address informed consent and active participation in the care planning process in relationship to antipsychotic medications in 2012 with additional regulations, “The Improving Dementia Care Treatment in Older Americans Act of 2012”.  One key element of this proposed legislation (S. 3604) would have required the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a standardized protocol for obtaining informed consent prior to administering antipsychotics. The bill did not pass. Whether this bill will be reintroduced next term remains to be seen.
     The LTCCC review of states informed consent laws also looked specifically at  language in relationship to “The Improving Dementia Care Treatment in Older Americans Act”. The analysis revealed the proposed legislation would enhance and strengthen informed consent laws in most all states related to psychotropic medication usage.
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