Medical Issues

Understand Your Rights in a Nursing Home

Nursing Home Abuse

Moving a loved one to a nursing home is an incredibly difficult decision for a family to make. Chances are, you’ve heard far too many horror stories about nursing homes from relatives, ranging from uncooperative staff or outright abuse and neglect. 

Over the years, we’ve found that knowing your loved one’s rights in a nursing home is one of your best assets in supporting quality care and advocating effectively. Here, we’ll offer a quick review of your rights under federal and state law and what you can do to fight for your loved one. 

Your Rights in a Nursing Home Under Federal Law

Your rights as a nursing home resident under federal law are spelled out in 42 CFR §483.10 and 42 CFR §483.1. These rights can be broadly grouped into ten categories

  1. Exercise of rights
  2. Planning and implementing care
  3. Choice of attending physician
  4. Respect and dignity
  5. Self-determination
  6. Information and communication
  7. Privacy and confidentiality
  8. Safe environment
  9. Grievances
  10. Freedom from abuse, neglect, and exploitation

For example, you have the right to be free of interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal from the facility. You have the right to appoint a representative to advocate on your behalf and retain the ability to exercise rights not delegated to a resident representative. You and your representative have the right to file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs if you suspect a regulatory violation. 

Residents and their representatives also have the right to be fully informed of their care and fully participate in their care. For example, you have the right to participate in planning your care, including outcomes. You also have the right to be informed in advance of any changes in your plan of care. 

Most importantly, you have the right to be informed in advance of the risks and benefits of a proposed treatment, and you always have the right to request, refuse, or discontinue treatment at your discretion. 

You also retain the right to choose (or refuse) your attending physician, provided that they are a licensed practitioner. If the physician you have chosen does not meet facility requirements, the facility has the right to furnish an alternative caregiver to assure appropriate care. You have the right to select a subsequent replacement physician, and the facility must honor that choice so long as the physician meets facility requirements. 

Dignity, respect, and self-determination are also the critical quality of life issues for many nursing home residents. No matter what, nursing home residents have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. For example, residents have the right to be free of any physical or chemical restraints used for convenience rather than medical care. Residents also have the right to make choices about aspects of their life that are important to them. 

Your Rights in a Nursing Home Under Michigan Law

A nursing home resident’s rights under Michigan law are enumerated under Michigan Public Act 368 of 1978, Section 333.20201

Under Michigan law, some of the biggest points include (beyond rights also spelled out in federal law) the patient’s right to privacy. 

Nursing home residents are entitled to confidential treatment of personal and medical records. Residents can refuse to allow their records to be released to someone outside the facility. Furthermore, residents have the right to privacy in their treatment and in caring for their personal needs with dignity and respect. 

Michigan law also spells out your financial rights. You have the right to review all of your bills from your nursing home, and you have the right to an explanation for all items on that bill regardless of the payment source. 

We Help Fight for Your Loved One’s Rights in a Nursing Home

Nursing home abuse and neglect are incredibly serious issues with a dramatic impact on your loved one’s quality of life. But when you’re worried about your loved one, trying to navigate issues with the nursing home, and puzzling out the next steps, it’s hard to know where to begin. 

At Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys, our team puts their years of experience to work for your family. We have 25 years of experience helping families just like you fight for the care their loved ones deserve, and we’ve won millions to help our clients ensure the best possible quality of care. We do it by practicing the law with diligence, attention to detail, and above all, compassion. 

If you need to speak with an attorney about your options, schedule your free consultation today. 

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Bob Giroux

Bob Giroux's Bio

Bob has been a litigation attorney for over 24 years. He is a Super Lawyer and has received, from Martindale, Hubbell, an AV Preeminent rating, the highest rating obtainable in both proficiency and ethics. Bob Giroux is a true litigator and trial attorney that has worked both sides of the courtroom and has personally been involved in over 100 trials.