A Pennsylvania resident has to give up a lot when they decide that it is time to move into a residential care facility or nursing home. They may have to stop driving and may have to rely on others to fix their meals and help them take their medications. They may also need support bathing, using the restroom, and even getting dressed. Entering a nursing home can mean giving up a great deal of independence in exchange for getting help with important everyday tasks.
However, entering a nursing home does not and should not require a person to give up their human rights of respect, dignity and safety. Nursing home residents should expect to be treated fairly and have their legal rights honored when issues arise with their care.
For example, nursing home residents cannot be denied access to their relatives and loved ones. They must also be able to access an ombudsman or similar individual with whom they may discuss their problems and grievances.
Nursing home residents do not have to give up their right to the confidentiality of the medical records. They may continue to see their own doctors and do not have to give up their medical care providers when they leave their own homes and go into care facilities. They also do not have to give up their personal possessions, clothing, or other items when they become residents of nursing homes.
There are many other rights that nursing home residents should be afforded by the facilities where they live. When those rights are disregarded, the residents may have legal options for retain the important protections afforded to them under the law.