This blog has previously touched on several aspects of nursing home abuse and some of the more specific problems that can occur. Readers may remember that we’ve discussed the dangers of bedsores to nursing home residents, and the use of restraints in such facilities and the problems such use may create for the people living there. This week, however, let’s “pull the camera back” and look at a bit of the bigger picture with regards to what treatment residents of long-term care facilities have a right to expect from those facilities.
The Connecticut Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s office is a state agency that deals with subjects that affect residents of the state who are residing in long-term care facilities. This office’s website contains a list of the rights that people in nursing homes should be able to expect from their places of residence. Most of these are human rights that all people should be afforded, wherever they may be, but it bears repeating them so that nursing home residents and their loved ones remember that they are entitled to fair treatment.
First of all, and possibly most importantly, individuals in long-term care facilities have the right to always be treated with respect and dignity. If this right is observed, likely most of the others listed here will follow. However, to be a bit more specific, nursing home residents should be able to manage their own affairs in terms of finances, and receive aid to do so when required. They should also be able to participate in their own care decisions and in other choices that are significant to their lives in the facility. They should also be able to associate freely with whomever they wish, and have privacy in doing so. Residents have the right to send and receive mail and be free from physical or chemical restraint. They also have the right to apply for various forms of aid and to lodge complaints without being afraid of retaliation by the facility.
While the above list is not exhaustive, it should give Connecticut residents a clear idea of what kind of treatment they or their loved ones should expect if they happen to be in a nursing home. Those who suspect a loved one’s rights are being curtailed, or are victims of nursing home abuse, could pursue legal remedies.