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Residents' rights

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law requires each nursing home to care for its residents in a manner that promotes and enhances the quality of life of each resident, ensuring dignity, choice and self-determination.

All nursing homes are required "to provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care that… is initially prepared, with participation, to the extent practicable, of the resident, the resident's family, or legal representative." This means a resident should not decline in health or well-being as a result of the way a nursing facility provides care.

As a nursing home resident, you have the…

Right to a dignified existence

  • Be treated with consideration, respect, and dignity, recognizing each resident’s individuality
  • Freedom from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and misappropriation of property
  • Freedom from physical or chemical restraints
  • Quality of life is maintained or improved
  • Exercise rights without interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal
  • A homelike environment, and use of personal belongings when possible
  • Equal access to quality care
  • Security of possessions

Right to self-determination

  • Choice of activities, schedules, health care and providers, including attending physician
  • Reasonable accommodation of needs and preferences
  • Participate in developing and implementing a person-centered plan of care that incorporates personal and cultural preferences
  • Choice about designating a representative to exercise his or her rights
  • Organize and participate in resident and family groups
  • Request, refuse, and/or discontinue treatment

Right to be fully informed of:

  • The type of care to be provided, and risks and benefits of proposed treatments
  • Changes to the plan of care, or in medical or health status
  • Rules and regulations, including a written copy of residents’ rights
  • Contact information for the long-term care ombudsman program and the state survey agency
  • State survey reports and the nursing facility’s plan of correction
  • Written notice before a change in room or roommate
  • Notices and information in a language or manner he or she understands (Spanish, Braille, etc.)

Right to raise grievances

  • Present grievances without discrimination or retaliation, or the fear of it
  • Prompt efforts by the facility to resolve grievances, and provide a written decision upon request
  • To file a complaint with the long-term care ombudsman program or the state survey agency

Right of access to:

  • Individuals, services, community members, and activities inside and outside the facility
  • Visitors of his or her choosing, at any time, and the right to refuse visitors
  • Personal and medical records
  • His or her personal physician and representatives from the state survey agency and long-term care ombudsman program
  • Assistance if sensory impairments exist
  • Participate in social, religious, and community activities

Rights regarding financial affairs

  • Manage his or her financial affairs
  • Information about available services and the charges for each service
  • Personal funds of more than $100 ($50 for residents whose care is funded by Medicaid) deposited by the facility in a separate interest-bearing account, and financial statements quarterly or upon request
  • Not be charged for services covered by Medicaid or Medicare

Right to privacy

  • Regarding personal, financial, and medical affairs
  • Private and unrestricted communication with any person of their choice
  • During treatment and care of personal needs

Rights during discharge/transfer

  • Right to appeal the proposed transfer or discharge and not be discharged while an appeal is pending
  • Receive 30-day written notice of discharge or transfer that includes: the reason; the effective date; the location going to; appeal rights and process for filing an appeal; and the name and contact information for the long-term care ombudsman
  • Preparation and orientation to ensure safe and orderly transfer or discharge
  • Notice of the right to return to the facility after hospitalization or therapeutic leave

Indiana state law regarding nursing homes and Residential Care Facilities: