October is National Residents' Rights Month!

October is National Residents’ Rights Month. Residents of assisted living, nursing facilities, personal care homes, and other care facilities have rights that are guaranteed to them by the law. These rights include:

  • The Right to a Dignified Existence- being treated with consideration, respect, and dignity

  • The Right to Self-Determination- choice about activities, schedules, health care, and providers

  • The Right to be Fully Informed of care, risks, and changes to care plan or medical/health status

  • The Right to Raise Grievances- file complaints without fear of discrimination or acts of revenge

  • The Right of Access to services, community members, medical records, activities, and other services inside and out of the facility

  • The Right to Financial Affairs- managing financial affairs and information about services and charges for services

  • The Right to Privacy

  • Rights during Discharge/Transfer- right to appeal transfers or discharge without being discharged during a pending appeal; a 30-day notice of discharge or transfer including the reason, date, and location where the transfer will be

The theme for National Residents’ Rights Month in 2018 is “Speak Up: Know Your Rights and How to Use Them.” This theme reflects how important it is for residents of care facilities to know their rights so that they can confidently speak up for themselves and be more engaged in their care and achieving a quality of life.

In Pennsylvania, the Ombudsman program is responsible for advocating for residents. Ombudsman work with residents, families, and facility staff to provide information about resident rights. They also respond to complaints or concerns raised by residents or family members, and they visit long-term care facilities to make sure that the quality of care meets a high standard. Ombudsman can address a variety of issues, including concerns about finances, quality of life, professional care, resident rights, and information and education.

To learn more about the rights of residents in care facilities, please see this bulletin from The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care: http://theconsumervoice.org/uploads/files/long-term-care-recipient/CV_NHrights_factsheet_final.pdf