Elder Bill of Rights in New Mexico
Nursing home residents have a set of guaranteed rights under the federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. Under the act, nursing homes are required to promote and protect the rights of residents, with an emphasis on individual self-determination and dignity. Nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid must meet federal residents’ rights requirements. Residents’ rights are protected under New Mexico state law.
The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center has published the rights guaranteed under the federal reform law in a Nursing Home Residents’ Rights fact sheet. Those rights are as follows
Right to a Dignified Existence
Nursing home residents have the right to be treated with respect, dignity, and consideration, with recognition of their individuality. They have a right to:
- Freedom from neglect, abuse, exploitation, or misappropriation of their property
- Freedom from physical or chemical restraints
- Equal access to quality care
- Quality of life is maintained or improved
- Security of their possessions
- A homelike environment and use of their personal belongings whenever possible
- Exercise their rights without interference, discrimination, coercion, or reprisal
Right to Self-Determination
Residents of nursing homes should have a choice about their activities, schedules, and healthcare providers, including their attending physicians. They have a right to reasonable accommodation of their needs and preferences, and to request, refuse, or discontinue treatment. Nursing home residents have a right to participate in developing and implementing a plan of care that incorporates personal and cultural preferences. They have a right to organize and participate in resident and family groups. Each resident should have a choice about designating a representative to exercise his or her rights.
Right to Be Fully Informed
Elderly people living in nursing homes have a right to be kept fully informed about their health, medical treatment, and factors that affect their living conditions. The information they have a right to includes:
- Type of care to be provided, as well as the risks and benefits of proposed treatments
- Changes in the care plan or medical or health status
- Written notice before a change in room or change of roommate
- Rules and regulations of the facility, including a written copy of residents’ rights
- Notices and information in a manner and language the resident understands
- State survey reports, along with the nursing home’s plan of correction
- Contact information for the long-term care ombudsman program and the state survey agency
Right to Raise Grievances
Residents have a right to present grievances without retaliation or discrimination, or fear of retaliation or discrimination. They also have a right to file a complaint with the state survey agency or the long-term care ombudsman program. The facility should make a prompt effort to resolve a grievance and provide the resident with a written decision upon request.
Right of Access
Nursing home residents have the right of access to individuals, community members, services, and activities, both inside and outside the long-term care facility. They have the right to participate in social, religious, and community activities, and right of access to:
- Visitors of their own choosing (including the right to refuse visitors)
- Their own personal physicians and representatives from the long-term care ombudsman program or the state survey agency
- Their personal and medical records
- Assistance in the case of sensory impairment
Rights Regarding Financial Affairs
Seniors in nursing homes have the right to manage their own financial affairs, and to have personal funds of more than $100 ($50 when care is funded by Medicaid) deposited by the facility in a separate interest-bearing account, with financial statements provided quarterly or upon request. They have a right to information about available services and charges for each service, and to not be charged for services covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
Right to Privacy
Residents have a right to private, unrestricted communication with any persons they choose. They have a right to privacy regarding personal, medical, and financial matters, and during treatment and care of their personal needs.
Rights During Transfer or Discharge
Residents being transferred or discharged have a right to a 30-day written notice that includes the reason, the effective date, the transfer location, and contact information for the long-term care ombudsman. They have a right to appeal, to preparation and orientation to ensure a safe and orderly discharge, and a notice of right to return to the facility after therapeutic leave or hospitalization.
Our Albuquerque nursing home abuse lawyers at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP help protect the rights of older adults in nursing homes. We offer a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis. Call us as soon as possible at (903) 212-2822 if you believe your elderly loved one’s rights have been violated.
Don't wait to get help. Contact our Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse lawyer to schedule a free consultation.
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