Moving a loved one into a nursing home can be an emotional and difficult decision. You want to ensure your loved one receives quality care in a safe environment. While most nursing homes provide excellent care, it’s important to understand your loved one’s rights.
There are federal and state laws in place to protect nursing home residents. These laws prohibit nursing homes from engaging in certain conduct. Being aware of what nursing homes are not allowed to do can help you be a better advocate for your loved one.
1. Discriminating Against Protected Classes
Federal and Minnesota laws prohibit nursing homes from discriminating against residents based on protected characteristics like race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion. This includes discrimination in the admission process and in the services and accommodations provided.
For instance, a nursing home cannot refuse to admit someone or place restrictions on them solely because of their race or disability status. Every potential resident must be evaluated objectively based on their individual care needs and the facility’s ability to meet those needs.
2. Abusing or Neglecting Residents
Nursing homes have a duty to keep residents safe from abuse and neglect. This includes:
- Physical abuse like hitting, shoving, or restraining
- Emotional abuse, such as yelling, name-calling, or humiliation
- Sexual abuse
- Financial exploitation, like misusing funds or possessions
- Neglect of medical, hygiene, nutrition, or social needs
Federal and state regulations require nursing homes to report any suspected abuse or neglect. Nursing home staff are mandatory reporters. If abuse occurs, the nursing home must thoroughly investigate and take corrective action.
3. Refusing to Readmit After Hospitalization
Sometimes, nursing home residents need to be hospitalized for treatment of an acute illness or injury. Minnesota law prohibits nursing homes from refusing to readmit a resident after their hospital stay as long as the resident still requires the services of the nursing home and is eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.
Exceptions can be made if the resident’s needs have changed and the nursing home can no longer provide appropriate care. However, in most cases, residents have the right to return to the same room after hospitalization.
4. Using Restraints Without Medical Necessity
Nursing homes cannot use physical or chemical restraints on residents unless absolutely medically necessary. Restraints include devices like wrist ties or side rails. They also encompass medications used to control behavior.
Federal regulations only permit restraint use if needed to treat a resident’s medical symptoms or to ensure safety during medical procedures. Restraints cannot be used for punishment or staff convenience. Nursing homes must obtain informed consent for restraint use and employ alternatives whenever possible.
5. Failing to Meet Individual Care Needs
Each nursing home resident has unique care needs. Nursing homes must assess each resident and develop a personalized care plan outlining the required services. This includes medical care, daily living assistance, nutrition, social engagement, and more.
Under Minnesota law, nursing homes must provide adequate care per each resident’s individual care plan. Residents have the right to receive necessary care and services, regardless of their payment source. Nursing homes cannot ignore care needs as a way to cut costs.
6. Retaliating Against Complaints
Mistreatment or quality of care issues can occur in even the best nursing homes. Minnesota regulations allow residents to file grievances or complaints without fear of retaliation. This includes complaints made directly to staff or to outside entities like the state Ombudsman.
Nursing homes cannot take any adverse action against a resident for voicing concerns. This means they cannot restrict privileges, ignore requests, or verbally harass residents who complain. Protecting this right allows for open communication and accountability.
7. Mishandling Resident Funds
Many nursing homes assist residents with managing personal funds and finances. This includes resident trust accounts and resident personal needs allowance accounts for those on Medicaid.
Minnesota law requires nursing homes to handle residents’ finances properly. This includes safeguarding funds, providing quarterly accounting statements, obtaining consent for withdrawals, and returning balances upon discharge. Theft or mismanagement of resident funds is prohibited.
Take Action if a Violation Occurs
Take prompt action if you believe your loved one’s rights have been violated. Report issues to the nursing home administrator and your State Ombudsman. Consult with an estate planning attorney about filing a complaint or lawsuit if warranted.
Their experienced Minnesota elder law attorneys at Safe Harbor Estate Law can help comprehend rights and explore legal options if a nursing home violation occurs. Reach out to their caring team if assistance is needed. They are there to help protect loved ones every step of the way.
Visit their team online today at https://safeharborestatelaw.com/ to learn more or schedule a consultation.