October is Residents’ Rights Month

Levin Perconti - Quality


Residents’ Rights Advocates Invite You to “Stand For Quality” This October

Across the country, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities along with family members, ombudsmen, citizen advocates, and facility staff will honor the individual rights of long-term care residents by celebrating Residents’ Rights Month. Residents’ Rights Month is an annual event held in October by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) to celebrate and focus on awareness of dignity, respect and the value of long-term care residents.

The theme for Residents’ Rights Month 2019 is, “Stand for Quality” – to emphasize the importance of standing for quality in all aspects of residents’ experiences – quality care, quality of life, quality services, and quality choices.  The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti invite our community to use this opportunity to push for the rights of those they care about to be known and protected while residing in an Illinois long-term care facility.

Federal Law Guarantees Residents’ Rights

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law protects the rights of nursing home residents through very specific language. Facilities must meet the federal residents’ rights requirements to allow their ongoing participation in Medicare or Medicaid programs. When not, these groups must be held accountable for their failures, most commonly stemmed from harmful abuse and sometimes deadly neglect.

Federal rights include:

#1 The Right to Be Fully Informed of

  • Available services and the charges for each service
  • Facility rules and regulations, including a written copy of resident rights
  • Address and telephone number of the State Ombudsman and state survey agency
  • State survey reports and the nursing home’s plan of correction
  • Advance plans of a change in rooms or roommates
  • Assistance if a sensory impairment exists
  • Residents have a right to receive information in a language they understand (Spanish, Braille, etc.)

#2 Right to Complain

  • Present grievances to staff or any other person, without fear of reprisal and with prompt efforts by the facility to resolve those grievances
  • To complain to the ombudsman program
  • To file a complaint with the state survey and certification agency

#3 Right to Participate in One’s Own Care

  • Receive adequate and appropriate care
  • Be informed of all changes in medical condition
  • Participate in their own assessment, care-planning, treatment, and discharge
  • Refuse medication and treatment
  • Refuse chemical and physical restraints
  • Review one’s medical record
  • Be free from charge for services covered by Medicaid or Medicare

#4 Right to Privacy and Confidentiality

  • Private and unrestricted communication with any person of their choice
  • During treatment and care of one’s personal needs
  • Regarding medical, personal, or financial affairs

Levin & Perconti rights violation case example: In 2019, our attorneys represented the family of a patient who was repeatedly harassed by two previous employees of Abington of Glenview Nursing Home in Glenview. The woman is Margaret Collins, a 91-year-old suffering from dementia. This nursing home abuse case has gained national attention after an upsetting video posted to the popular social media app Snapchat showed aides taunting her with a hospital gown. In the video, Collins was visibly upset as she was seen attempting to swat the dress away through several moments of distress. One of the aides involved in the suit recorded the incident and later posted it to Snapchat with the caption, ‘Margaret hates gowns’ alongside several laughing emojis. Thankfully, a previous Glenview worker connected to the aide’s social platform saw the video and notified the resident’s family members.

#5 Rights During Transfers and Discharges

  • Remain in the nursing facility unless a transfer or discharge:
    • (a) is necessary to meet the resident’s welfare;
    • (b) is appropriate because the resident’s health has improved and s/he no longer requires nursing home care;
    • (c) is needed to protect the health and safety of other residents or staff;
    • (d) is required because the resident has failed, after reasonable notice, to pay the facility charge for an item or service provided at the resident’s request
  • Receive thirty-day notice of transfer or discharge which includes the reason, effective date, location to which the resident is transferred or discharged, the right to appeal, and the name, address, and telephone number of the state long-term care ombudsman
  • Safe transfer or discharge through sufficient preparation by the home

#6 Right to Dignity, Respect, and Freedom

  • To be treated with consideration, respect, and dignity
  • To be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion, and physical and chemical restraints
  • To self-determination
  • Security of possessions

#7 Right to Visits

  • By a resident’s personal physician and representatives from the state survey agency and ombudsman programs
  • By relatives, friends, and others of the residents’ choosing
  • By organizations or individuals providing health, social, legal, or other services
  • Residents have the right to refuse visitors

#8 to Make Independent Choices

  • Make personal decisions, such as what to wear and how to spend free time
  • Reasonable accommodation of one’s needs and preferences
  • Choose a physician
  • Participate in community activities, both inside and outside the facility
  • Organize and participate in a Resident Council
  • Manage one’s own financial affairs

While the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law was designed to promote and protect the rights of each resident, it is too often violated without repercussion because residents (and their family members) are not aware of their legal protections and individual rights. Because of this, we encourage all caregivers, employees, family members and residents to work together and stand for quality long-term care experiences not just in October, but at all times.

Levin & Perconti: Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys 

If someone you love has been subjected to poor treatment in a nursing home, let our attorneys help find the answers. Consultations are both free and confidential. Please call us at (312) 332-2872 or complete our free online consultation request form.

Also read: List of Illinois Nursing Homes That Violate Safety and Rights Of Residents

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