Nursing home residents must be safe and healthy, and rules are necessary to protect and care for the collective population. For example, mealtimes or medication distribution must occur at a certain time for efficiency and convenience.
However, flexibility exists within those rules, and federal regulations require that elderly residents of nursing homes have the freedom to have a voice and control their own decisions.
What You Need to Know About Nursing Home Rules
Nursing homes should give as much autonomy to residents as possible while maintaining order and routine. Some of the following are appropriate nursing home rules listed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that most elderly residents will have to follow.
Nursing home residents must receive proper nutrition, which typically consists of three meals a day and snacks. These meals occur at specific times simply due to logistics. A nursing home may have over 100 residents, and it would create chaos if every resident ate at a different time for each meal.
Many nursing homes make sure that residents get meals to their liking and according to their personal dietary restrictions. Some nursing homes will even provide residents with alternative times for meals and snacks outside scheduled mealtimes.
Visitors to nursing homes must typically sign in and out or wear a badge for security reasons. There are specific times of the day that residents may receive visitors. As part of the rules at nursing homes, residents are free to choose who they have visit and when. Residents have a right to let family members and friends visit within specific times so as not to disrupt other residents.
Residents are often prescribed medication for their health conditions. Each resident has a specific set of medications that staff must provide at specific times. The rules often stipulate that the residents must take their medication at the times provided, which helps ensure an orderly and manageable schedule. Delivering and administering medications at specific times also helps ensure that the documentation of the medication dosage, time, and patient are correct.
Nursing home residents are a part of a community and must behave appropriately towards staff and other residents. Residents are still allowed to behave as they wish, as the staff still wants them to feel in control of their lives. However, if any resident becomes emotionally or physically aggressive or abusive to a staff member or another resident, the uncooperative resident may face consequences as part of rules given at nursing homes.
Wandering or Elopement
The nursing home may have rules that state that residents must stay on the property and not wander outside the building, which is also called elopement. This is for the resident’s safety, as the nursing home has a duty and responsibility to ensure that each resident is safe from harm.
If any nursing home resident feels that the rules are too oppressive or unfair, they should file a complaint with the management of the facility. Residents should have a voice in their treatment at a nursing home facility. Nursing home residents should discuss their feelings regarding any rules they feel may be inappropriate or too harsh.
The Nursing Home Reform Act Protects Residents
The Nursing Home Reform Act establishes the legal rights of nursing home residents. According to AARP, the rights ensured and guaranteed by this law include the following:
- Free communication.
- Treatment with dignity.
- Physical, emotional, mental accommodations of needs.
- Freedom from mistreatment, neglect, or abuse.
- Exercise self-determination when appropriate.
- Ability to voice grievances without fear of retaliation or discrimination.
- Freedom from physical restraints.
- Freedom to visit with family and friends.
- Freedom to participate in the nursing home community.
- Freedom to participate, when appropriate, in their own healthcare plan, treatment, or other care.
Residents deserve to live free and full lives. The Nursing Home Reform Act ensures the rights that allow residents to do so.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
While elderly residents may have to follow certain rules of the nursing home, they should never be a victim of abuse or neglect. Any rule or action that results in any kind of emotional, physical, mental, sexual, or financial exploitation is illegal.
Any rule of a nursing home that violates the emotional, physical, mental, sexual, or financial health of a resident is against the Nursing Home Reform Act, federal guidelines, and the law. If you feel that your elderly loved one in a nursing home was subject to rules that violated their rights, they may have a right to file a claim regarding their abuse or neglect.
Contact a Nursing Home Lawyer
If your elderly loved one suffered any kind of abuse in a nursing home, or you discover that your elderly loved one’s nursing home required them to follow rules that caused them harm, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to help you ensure the protection of your legal rights.