Nursing Home Standards: What is Required by a Long-Term Care Facility?

Whether for yourself or for an aging family member, the decision to enter a long-term care facility can be difficult. Residents and their families understandably fear that such facilities will decrease Nursing Hometheir autonomy, mismanage their affairs, and lower their quality of life. If you are contemplating such a facility, it can help to know the basics of the services such facilities are required to provide for their residents.

Right to Quality of Life

Long-term care facilities are required to treat residents with dignity and respect. They are to allow residents to maintain their own individuality, wear their own clothing, and choose their own hairstyles and accessories. They must be free to interact with family members and the community. Residents can organize groups, use facility meeting rooms, and participate in social, religious, and community activities. They must be notified if there will be a roommate change, and must be allowed to share a room with a spouse or domestic partner. Unless a resident has been adjudicated incompetent, facilities are to allow them to participate in their own care decisions. Facilities are allowed to restrict these freedoms only as they infringe on the health and safety of the residents.

Management of Funds

Some facilities provide personal fund-management services for residents to help them to pay bills, keep their money close, and to provide for their long-term care expenses. When such services are offered, any personal resident funds over $100 must be deposited into an interest-bearing account and kept separate from facility and staff funds. If resident funds are combined into a pool, the facility must keep a separate accounting of each resident’s share of the pool and provide it to the resident upon request.

Freedom from Abuse

Residents at long-term care facilities must be kept free from physical and mental abuse. Facilities are prohibited from using physical or chemical restraints that aren’t directly related to the resident’s care. Residents may not be disciplined by corporate punishment or involuntary seclusion.

Appropriate Treatment

Residents must be told what medical services are available at each facility prior to checking in. A skilled nursing facility must be able to handle all medical needs that aren’t acute enough to require hospitalization.

Before you check yourself or a loved one into a long-term care facility, know your rights. Additional information is available at the Washington State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. If you feel that your rights or the rights of your loved one have been violated by a long-term care facility, contact an attorney as soon as possible. At Duce Bastian Peterson, we work hard for the dignity, respect, and rights of vulnerable adults by holding nursing homes accountable when they fail in their duties of care. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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