Nursing home abuse is a sad and all too common problem occurring daily in long term care facilities across the United States. Legal boundaries are blurred if not crossed completely, placing innocent senior citizens in physical and emotional jeopardy. It is imperative that all nursing home residents and resident representatives in Nebraska understand the state’s nursing home rights and hold facilities accountable when these rights are not respected.
Possession of a copy of the federal and state laws that govern nursing home resident care is the right of every nursing home resident. Facilities are required to post contact information for the local ombudsman program and state survey agency where this information may be obtained. Facility rules and regulations pertaining to resident conduct and responsibilities must be presented to all residents before or at the time of admission.
Federal and state laws offer extensive protections for nursing home residents in areas such as privacy, financial matters, personal treatment, and medical care. The federal Nursing Home Reform Law protects the rights of residents in homes that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds, which includes most nursing home facilities.
Every nursing home facility in Nebraska must provide residents with:
- The right to be treated with respect, dignity, and consideration.
- The right to manage their own financial affairs.
- The right to choose their personal physician, participate in treatment decision, and refuse treatments.
- The right to be given complete information about their medical condition.
- The right to confidentiality of personal and medical records.
- The right to equal access to care with no regard to whether payment is made privately or by a government insurance program.
- The right to personal privacy during personal and spousal visits, telephone calls, and written communication.
- Freedom from abuse, including physical, sexual, financial, emotional, and mental abuse.
- Freedom from physical or chemical restraints, unless recommended by a healthcare provider to ensure resident safety.
- Freedom from association with visitors, staff, and physicians of their choice.
- Freedom to participate in religious, social, and community groups.
- Freedom to use personal clothing and other possessions, as space permits.
If a situation arises where a resident must be transferred to a hospital or other therapeutic setting, a facility must offer a bedhold, or a written notice of how long they will keep a resident’s bed open. Priority readmission must be offered to residents whose bedhold has expired. These residents must be given the first semi-private bed that becomes available in the facility.
In the state of Nebraska, a nursing home may insist a resident leave only if their medical condition has changed and the facility no longer offers the appropriate level of care. Failure to pay reasonable financial charges may also result in discharge. Residents who endanger themselves or the safety of other residents may legally be asked to leave the facility.
The state of Nebraska has set these laws in place to govern the care of its aging population and protect the rights of its citizens. However, not all facilities respect these laws. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a facility or facility staff member that has violated the established nursing home resident rights in the state of Nebraska, an Omaha nursing home abuse lawyer can help.
Welsh & Welsh is experienced in handling cases where Nebraska nursing home resident’s rights have been violated. Our legal team will work to hold those at fault responsible and prevent future residents from experiencing the same disrespect. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation of your case.