Like all other citizens, nursing home residents have guaranteed rights. However, they may not always know exactly what their rights are. Florida Statute 400.022 outlines the legal rights of nursing home residents.
- Nursing home residents are guaranteed all civil and religious liberties protected by the Constitution of the United States. They have the right to be treated with dignity, fairness, courtesy, and respect.
- Facilities must provide information on the rules and regulations that govern them.
- The results of federal and state inspections must be made available on request. If violations were uncovered, a plan of action to correct those issues must also be provided.
- Residents have the right to stay in control of their finances.
- Communication between nursing home residents and others must be kept private and uncensored.
- Residents have the right to be visited by service providers, be they medical, social, legal, or otherwise. They can also choose at any time to end visits and whether or not to receive visitors.
- Nursing home residents have the right to privacy. This is one of the reasons why some have questioned the use of hidden cameras in nursing homes.
- Residents have the right to retain and use their clothing and personal possessions. They also have the right to participate in activities in the community and in the facility. The right to organize and participate in resident groups is protected.
- Many medical rights are protected by this law. Nursing home residents are guaranteed appropriate medical care. In addition to choosing their own health care providers, including doctors and pharmacists, patients have the right to be fully informed about their medical conditions. When it comes to treatment, residents must be fully informed of proposed treatments and their risks and residents do have the right to refuse treatment or medication. If a resident is being hospitalized, information about the room reservation policy must be provided.
- If a facility must change a resident’s room, the staff is required to notify the resident involved.
- There are limited legal reasons a resident can be discharged. These include only medical reasons, the protection of the welfare of all residents, or because bills were not paid. If a resident is being discharged or transferred, the facility is required to give at least 30 days’ notice and residents can challenge the decision.
- Residents have the right to present any complaints they may have about the facility without threat of coercion, discrimination, or reprisal from staff or other residents.
Florida Statute 400.022 also protects residents from nursing home abuse. Residents are guaranteed the right to live without being mistreated by facility employees. This includes freedom from corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion. They are also protected against abuse by other residents. This law also prohibits facilities from using chemical restraints including anti-psychotic drugs to control resident behavior.