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What rights do Medicare nursing home residents have?

Medicare and Medicaid are two of the most widely utilized federal programs in Connecticut and other states throughout the country. These programs are meant to help individuals pay for healthcare when they are either older and likely not working, which is when Medicare is often used, or when they have little income or assets regardless of age, which is when Medicaid is frequently sought. One of the services often provided by Medicare especially is helping to pay for long-term care in a certified nursing home. Those Connecticut residents who use this system should know that the federal government mandates that individuals in such homes have certain rights.

First, Medicare nursing home residents have all the rights that's pertain to anyone eligible for that program, including the right to receive services for which the patient is legally eligible, protection from unethical practices and protection of the patient's privacy. However, those in Medicare nursing homes also have other rights as well.

Connecticut residents in nursing homes certified by Medicare have the right to participate in an activities program that meets his or her needs, as well as being treated generally with dignity and respect. This means that residents should be able to make their own schedules, decide when do go to bed and when to get up each day and be able to eat their meals. These residents also must not be discriminated against, and Medicare nursing homes must comply with civil rights laws when admitting patients. Residents also have the right to proper medical care and to be free from abuse and neglect. They can also make complaints to the nursing home administration without fear of reprisal or penalty.

Obviously, just because the federal government says these rights exist doesn't mean every facility complies regarding every patient. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse in Connecticut is all too real. Those who believe they or a loved one is experience abuse in a nursing home, whether Medicare facility or not, may have the right to seek compensation through the legal system.

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