Both state and federal laws establish numerous rights and privileges for nursing home residents in in California. Any failure to do so could serve as grounds for legal action against the facility and/or an individual employee, administrator, or owner. This could include civil litigation seeking compensation for damages caused by the rights violation.
Understanding patients’ rights in California nursing homes is crucial to protect yourself and your loved ones from experiencing mistreatment in these facilities. It is also important to take proactive action in response to mistreatment that has already occurred. With help from a compassionate attorney, you could more effectively enforce your rights and hold negligent parties accountable for their actions.
Overall Quality of Life
In a broad sense, all nursing home residents have the right to be treated with dignity and to be free from physical, verbal, mental, sexual, or financial abuse. Additionally, all nursing homes are obligated to provide necessary and high-quality care to all residents and ensure they do not suffer avoidable injuries or illnesses. Facilities should provide sufficient food and water to meet residents’ nutritional needs and tend to their social and emotional needs by providing programs, events, and support services.
Healthcare and Advance Directives
Beyond the right to obtain healthcare and treatment when needed, all nursing home residents in California also have various other medical rights. This includes the rights to choose their own attending physician, purchase medications and/or assistive medical devices from the supplier of their choice, receive information on available medical options and changes in their treatment, and refuse treatment whenever they wish. Residents also have the right to draft their own advance directives and maintain other estate planning documents that provide instructions for preferred end-of-life care.
Autonomy and Personal Freedom
Nursing home residents should maintain the right to self-determination and free communication in all contexts, including setting their own schedules, choosing what social and/or political events to participate in, maintaining their preferred religious practices, and organizing and/or participating in a residents’ council. Furthermore, residents may choose to share—or not share—a room with a roommate or spouse, so long as all parties consent to the arrangement.
A “Homelike” Environment
In addition to providing safe, clean, and reasonably comfortable public spaces within the facility, nursing homes must also preserve each resident’s right to decorate their private space as they see fit and enable them to live in a homelike environment. This includes ensuring each resident has a room at a comfortable temperature with a private closet space, clean linens, and a certain amount of square footage. Residents also have the right to retain personal possessions and furniture as space permits.
Nursing home residents must maintain the right to privacy in all regards, including how they manage their own finances and choose to pay for nursing home services, healthcare, or other purchases. Nursing homes must inform patients of all charges for facility services and provide fair notice of rate changes.
Discuss Nursing Home Patient Rights with a California Attorney
The information above is not an exhaustive list of patients’ rights in California nursing homes, but it does cover the basics of treatment a nursing home resident can expect under the law. Any violation of these rights, no matter how small, should be brought to the attention of facility management.
A skilled attorney can help to protect a resident’s rights and, if necessary, pursue legal action to rectify the violation. Call our law firm today to learn how you can protect your loved ones in an assisted living facility.