The Rights of Nursing Home Residents

Residents of nursing homes have as many rights as everyone else. However, they can be overlooked due to the institutional setting and disabilities that prevent many residents from advocating for themselves. It’s important to understand the rights specifically protected for nursing home residents, and how to to be able to enforce them.

Nursing home residents’ rights are protected by federal law. In broad terms, understand that the resident is just that: a resident in their own home, and not a patient. Nursing homes are required to ensure that every nursing home resident be given whatever services are necessary to function at the highest level possible. Some of the specific protections that residents have include the following:

If a disagreement with the nursing home does arise, here are some tips for enforcing the resident’s rights. First, talk to the nursing home staff directly. Often this can solve the problem. But if that doesn’t work, talk to a supervisor or administrator. If you feel like the problem is not resolved satisfactorily, the next step is to contact the ombudsperson assigned to the nursing home by your Area Agency on Aging. The ombudsman are familiar with the law and with how nursing homes operate. They can intervene on behalf of the resident to get an appropriate result.

You also have the option of reporting the nursing home to the State of North Carolina, or to hire a lawyer to try and resolve the issues. You may also decide to move the resident to a different facility.

For more information about how to contacting your nursing home ombudsperson in North Carolina, click here.

For some common nursing home myths and realities click here.

There are two separate versions of the Bill of Rights for Assisted Living Residents and for Nursing Home Residents in North Carolina. A condensed version of the North Carolina Residents Bill of Rights can be found here.