The Residents’ Bill of Rights refers to an important component of the Nursing Home Reform Act, passed in 1987. This act provides all long-term care facility patients with basic fundamental liberties. If these rights are denied, it may be grounds for criminal or civil charges. Our lawyers are well-versed in this potentially complex area of law, and can help if you believe that your loved one's rights were violated. To learn more about the Resident's Bill of Rights and how our Daytona, FL, law firm can help, contact Chanfrau & Chanfrau today.
Understanding Your Loved One's Legal Rights
It is important to remember that your loved one does not forfeit his or her rights after being admitted into a long-term care facility or nursing home. Though many nursing home patients are unable or less able to care for themselves, they still enjoy certain basic liberties, just as you and I would expect to. In addition to the rights and privileges guaranteed by Florida law, the Nursing Home Reform Act also provides for:
The right to freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect
This right is particularly true in the case of nursing home patients, as they are often unable to defend themselves or provide for their own treatment. Because nursing home residents are so dependent on others for their care, a violation of these rights is particularly egregious.
The right to freedom from physical restraints
Residents of long-term care facilities and nursing homes are not prisoners; they cannot be restrained or permanently immobilized with the use of physical restraints. Such restraints may include rope, handcuffs, or simply locked doors. If your loved one was physically restrained against his or her will, take action today.
The right to privacy
Everyone has a basic right to privacy – even residents of nursing homes. We caution clients who have questions regarding their loved ones' rights that not all violations are physical in nature. A claim may be the right course of action if your loved one's privacy was violated, as this can be cause for a great deal of emotional pain and suffering.
The right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs
Residents of nursing homes and long-term care are in these facilities because they are dependent on others for treatment and care. If their medical, physical, psychological, or social needs are not being met by the on-site healthcare professionals, this may indicate negligence and be grounds for a civil suit. Remember, nursing home staff have a professional duty to their patients.
The right to participate in resident and family groups
Nursing home residents have the right to socialize, be mobile, make their own decisions (so long as they are able to), and participate in their surroundings. If you believe that your loved one is being denied this basic right, we urge you to speak with an attorney with experience in these types of cases. At Chanfrau & Chanfrau, we can provide the counsel you need.
The right to be treated with dignity
Physical abuse is not the only type of abuse. Emotional and psychological abuse can be just as damaging. Residents of nursing homes must be treated with dignity and respect by the on-site healthcare professionals. If they are made to feel deliberately embarrassed, ashamed, frightened, or undignified in any manner, then they and their family members have just cause to seek legal action against the negligent parties.
The right to exercise self-determination
Barring extreme cases (e.g., a patient in a vegetative state), residents of long-term care facilities shall maintain complete control and free will over their actions. This means that residents can maintain the relationships that they choose, maintain control over their finances, and permanently leave or transfer to go to another facility if they desire.
The right to communicate freely
Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are among our most valued rights as citizens. Your loved one does not forfeit these rights simply because he or she elects to enter a long-term cafe facility. If your loved one's speech is being denied or he or she is being persecuted by the staff due to religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other protected causes, there may be grounds for a civil suit against the care facility.
The right to participate in the review of one's care plan, and to be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or change of status in the facility
As part of the self-determination rights that are protected by the State of Florida and United States Federal government, nursing home residents have the right to participate in, be made aware of, and approve their treatment. Any care that is provided to them without consent can be considered evidence of medical malpractice, and be grounds for a civil claim.
The right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal
As part of the freedom of communication rights that are protected by the State of Florida and United States Federal government, nursing home residents have the right to file a complaint against the care facility, a member of its staff, or a fellow resident, without fear of reprisal or persecution. These complaints should be investigated promptly, and actions should be taken if the complaint is deemed to be valid.
Protect Your Loved One's Rights
If your loved one's rights and privileges are violated, purposefully or as a result of negligence, it may be grounds for criminal charges and civil litigation. The attorneys at our law firm have extensive experience in the medical malpractice field, and can help ensure your loved one's rights, and those of your family, are protected. Schedule a consultation today to speak with a member of our team.