How Current National Laws Are Affecting Nursing Home Residents’ Rights

Placing your elderly loved ones into nursing home care is difficult. Knowing that they have certain rights and levels of protection to ensure they are getting the best care possible can help make the situation a little easier. However, not all care facilities in the United States actively comply with the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act and the recently updated 2017 Codes of Federal Regulation (CFR). 

All nursing homes that comply with these regulations have the ability to participate in Medicare and/or Medicaid funding programs. For example, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the state’s nursing homes are all NHRA compliant and actively participate in Medicare. Other states have adopted even stricter regulations. If you suspect a nursing home in your area is not compliant with federal or state care regulations, consider filing a report with Adult Protective Services or seeking counsel from a local nursing home abuse lawyer.

Federal Nursing Home Regulations

In compliance with the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing homes must adhere to the following in order to participate in Medicare and Medicaid:

  • Supply sufficient nursing staff. 
  • Conduct a thorough and accurate assessment of each resident’s functional capacity upon arrival.
  • Develop a comprehensive care plan for each resident. 
  • Prevent the deterioration of each resident’s ability to bathe, dress, groom, transfer and ambulate, toilet, eat, and to communicate.
  • Provide, if a resident is unable to carry out activities of daily living, the necessary services to maintain good nutrition, grooming, and personal oral hygiene. 
  • Ensure that residents receive proper treatment and assistive devices to maintain vision and hearing abilities. 
  • Ensure that residents do not develop pressure sores and, if a resident has pressure sores, provide the necessary treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection, and prevent new sores from developing.
  • Provide appropriate treatment and services to incontinent residents to restore as much normal bladder functioning as possible. 
  • Ensure that each resident receives adequate supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents.
  • Maintain acceptable parameters of nutritional status. 
  • Provide each resident with sufficient fluid intake to maintain proper hydration and health. 
  • Ensure that residents are free of any significant medication errors.
  • Promote each resident’s quality of life. 
  • Maintain dignity and respect of each resident. 
  • Ensure that each resident has the right to choose activities, schedules, and health care. 
  • Provide pharmaceutical services to meet the needs of each resident.
  • Be administered in a manner that enables the nursing home to use its resources effectively. 
  • Maintain accurate, complete, and easily accessible clinical records on each resident. 

Colorado Residents’ Rights

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the state’s nursing homes are all NHRA-compliant and actively participating in Medicare. However, if you suspect your loved one is being abused, consider taking legal action by contacting a Colorado nursing home abuse lawyer immediately. Bachus & Schanker have experience in handling these sensitive cases. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. 


Standards for Hospitals and Health Facilities

Federal Nursing Home Regulations and State Laws

Nursing Home Reform Act

CMS Regulations and Guidance State Operations Manual


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