Personal Injury Lawyer
Residents of nursing homes are in particularly vulnerable situations. Most residents need constant – or at least frequent – care to maintain their health. This can vary from around-the-clock care for chronically ill patients to occasional help with daily living activities. Fortunately, there are both federal and state laws to help protect residents of a nursing home from exploitation and abuse. It’s important to become familiar with these laws so that you can protect yourself or a loved one if a violation does occur.
Before Moving In
Under federal law, nursing homes are unable to discriminate against protected classes. This means they can’t deny admission to their facility based on age, sex, religion, race, color, or any other characteristic that falls under a protected class.
Before a patient moves in, a nursing home must provide them with a written document that details the provided services and fees. Be sure to read this document carefully, as nursing homes are not allowed to charge upfront fees for the different levels of care you may need while you are a resident.
Moving Into a Nursing Home
When a patient is first moves into a nursing home, the nursing home is required to give the resident an initial health assessment. These assessments will continue periodically for the duration of the resident’s stay. The staff – along with the patient’s doctor – will evaluate the patient’s needs, limitations, and mental cognition to make decisions or speak.
These assessments are necessary to determine eligibility for Medicare coverage. They are used to plan patient treatment and assess how much progress is being made. By law, nursing home residents allowed access to their care plan, as well as the ability to make decisions about their care plan if they can do so. If your nursing home denies you access to your care plan or the ability to make decisions regarding it, file a complaint immediately.
Moving Out of a Nursing Home
Nursing homes must help patients with any discharge plans to leave the nursing home. There are three circumstances under which nursing homes can transfer a patient to another facility without their consent.
- They are considered dangerous to either themselves or others
- Their health has declined so severely that the nursing home cannot meet their needs
- Their health has improved so much that they no longer need the nursing home’s services
Additionally, a resident may be forcibly discharged if their bills have not been getting paid. The one caveat to this rule is if there is a past balance due as a result of Medicaid funds not coming through promptly.
If you believe a violation has occurred, it’s a good idea to contact a nursing home lawyer, who can help you.