October is Residents' Rights Month - Part 3
What rights are residents guaranteed under the 1987 federal Nursing Home Reform Law? Here's an overview of the last set of rights on the list.
As a resident of a nursing home, you have RIGHTS DURING TRANSFERS OR DISCHARGES. Residents can only be discharged in certain situations. A resident can be discharged if the health or safety of individuals in the facility is endangered, the resident has improved and no longer needs the services, the discharge is necessary for the resident’s welfare or if the facility cannot meet the resident’s needs, if the resident has failed to pay after given reasonable notice, or if the facility closes.
There are very specific rules that govern discharges from a nursing facility. The facility must issue a 30-day written notice of discharge which must cite the reason for discharge, the effective date of the discharge, discharge location, appeal information along with the contact information for the local Long-Term Care Ombudsman who can assist the resident through the appeal process. If you’re given a discharge notice, call the appeal number on the notice and contact your local long-term care ombudsman for assistance.
Last, but certainly not least, is a set of rights that cover what I believe is one of the last abilities we loose and that’s the RIGHT TO COMPLAIN!! The nursing home regulations address this and provide residents with the right to present a grievance to the staff without fear of reprisal. The facility must respond promptly to the concerns expressed and work with the resident to resolve them. Residents have the right to file a complaint with the state agency overseeing the facility. They also have the right to voice concerns to the ombudsman program, which is the federally mandated program constructed to provide residents with a professional advocate to assist with grievances.
If someone you love is in a nursing home, don't be afraid to ask rock the boat if necessary! It's your right--and your responsibility--to do so!