What rights do North Carolina nursing home residents have?

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State and federal laws protect the rights of residents in North Carolina nursing homes. In addition, victims of nursing home neglect and their families may file claims with civil courts for compensation of losses.

Legal guidelines require long-term care facilities to inform and update residents about available services and rights. These promises are ineffective when residents, incapacitated by age or illness, cannot understand their rights or a nursing home breaches these terms.

The Federal Medicare Health Insurance Program for the Aged directs skilled-nursing facilities to address in writing policies banning nursing home abuse. When you aren't sure what rights you have, it's difficult to know whether you are a victim of mistreatment. North Carolina's Long Term Care Ombudsman Program provides advocates for nursing home residents, who field and act upon complaints about elder abuse and other rights' violations.

Abuses are not confined to physical harm. Residents have a right to be free of emotional trauma, exploitation and neglect. Negligence may involve improper care that leads to an injury, like unnecessary bedsores for residents who are not repositioned regularly.

Residents have a right to personal privacy and can make decisions about physicians and medical treatment. Nursing home residents may not be restricted from seeing family members or unnecessarily restrained or drugged. Recipients of government health care benefits may not be penalized or treated differently than any other residents.

Complaints by residents must be addressed. Nursing homes may not interfere with residents' rights to complain and seek the assistance of a family member, ombudsman, government representative or attorney. Residents may not be transferred or discharged without good reason or adequate notice.

These are a few of the many rights North Carolina nursing home residents have. Family members with loved ones in long-term care facilities are advised to become familiar with them and consult with an attorney, if a nursing home violation is suspected.

Source: FindLaw, " Legal Rights of Nursing Home Residents" Nov. 04, 2014