Resident Rights in Long Term Care Nursing Facilities

Resident Rights in  Long Term Care Nursing Facilities

We take our personal rights for granted. However, when a family member or a friend moves into a long term care nursing facility the question is often asked whether the family member or friend has any rights as a resident of such facility.  Federal law, Section 483.10 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires that long term care nursing facilities must protect and promote the rights of each resident by providing specific, enumerated rights.

For example, in the State of Maryland, mandated rights of residents residing in long term nursing facilities are extensive and include:

  • The right to choose one’s own physician if the physician agrees to abide by the facility’s policies and procedures.
  • The right to be fully informed in advance about care and treatment; the right to participate in planning care and treatment; and the right to consent to or refuse treatment.
  • The right to be free from physical or chemical restraints unless required to treat medical symptoms or provide for the safety of the resident.
  • The right to be free from physical, verbal, mental or sexual abuse.
  • The right to be free from involuntary seclusion.
  • The right to reside and receive services with reasonable accommodations of individual needs and preferences.
  • The right to receive treatment, care and services that enhance the resident’s quality of life.
  • The right to be free of interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal when exercising such rights.
  • The right to privacy in the resident’s accommodations, medical treatment and personal care.
  • The right to receive or refuse to receive visitors, subject to reasonable nursing facility restrictions concerning visiting hours and places where the visitation can occur.
  • The right to meet privately with representatives of State agencies including the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.
  • The right to voice grievances without being subjected to nursing facility reprisals.
  • The right to access and purchase copies of the resident’s records. Such records would include medical records, social work records, etc.
  • Rights concerning resident transfers and discharges. Generally, the facility shall provide notification of the transfer or discharge at least 30 days before the proposed transfer or discharge. The notification shall provide (1) the reason for the proposed transfer or discharge, (2) a statement that the resident has a right to request a hearing and how to request a hearing, (3) contact information for relevant State and local officials and (4) the right to seek legal counsel.1

Residents in states other than Maryland should consult the applicable state laws and regulations governing resident rights in long term care nursing facilities and assisted living facilities. An excellent source of information would be the state long-term care and/or assisted living Ombudsman.

Arthur L. Lappen, Attorney

Maryland and DC

1 Various sections  of the Code of Maryland Regulations including sections, and