When a person chooses to move into an Assisted Living Facility in the state of Georgia they are entitled to certain rights as a resident of your facility. These Residents Rights are extremely important and designed to protect the dignity of our seniors and allow them to continue to be productive and respected citizens of the state.
111-8-63-.25 Supporting Residents Rights and Obtaining Feedback:
(1) The assisted living community must operate in a manner that respects the personal dignity of the residents and the human rights of the residents which rights cannot be waived, except as provided in these rules by the resident or the resident’s representative or legal surrogate.
(a) The assisted living community must provide to each resident care and services that are adequate, appropriate, and in compliance with state law and regulations.
(b) The assisted living community, its agents, or employees must not punish or harass a resident because of the resident’s efforts to enforce his or her rights.
(c) The assisted living community must operate in a manner that protects each Residents Rights to do all of the following:
- exercise the constitutional Residents Rights s guaranteed to citizens of this state and this country including, but not limited to, the right to vote;
- choose activities and schedules consistent with the resident’s interests, and assessments;
- interact with members of the community both inside and outside the assisted living community and to participate fully in the life of the community; and
- Make choices about aspects of his or her life in the assisted living community that are significant to the resident.
(d) Each resident must have the right to enjoy privacy in his or her room. Assisted living community staff and others must respect this right by knocking on the door before entering the resident’s room.
(e) Each resident must have the right to associate and communicate freely and privately with persons and groups of the resident’s choice without being censored by staff.
(f) If a resident is married and the spouse is also a resident in the assisted living community, the residents must be permitted to share a room unless they request otherwise, subject to the limitation that no more than two residents may share a bedroom or private living space.
(g) Each resident must be treated with dignity, kindness, consideration, and respect and be given privacy in the provision of assisted living care. Each resident must be accorded privacy and freedom to use the bathroom(s) at all hours.
(h) No religious belief or practice must be imposed upon any resident. Residents must be free to practice their religious beliefs as they choose. Each resident must have the right to participate in social, religious, and community activities that do not interfere with the rights of other residents.
(i) Each resident must have the right to be free from mental, verbal, sexual, and physical abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
(j) Each resident has the right to be free from actual or threatened physical or chemical restraints and the right to be free from isolation, corporal, or unusual punishment including interference with the daily functions of living, such as eating or sleeping.
(k) Each resident must have the right to use, keep and control his or her own personal property and possessions in the immediate living quarters, except to the extent a resident’s use of his or her property would interfere with the safety or health of other residents. Each resident must have the right to reasonable safeguards for the protection and security of his personal property and possessions brought into the assisted living community.
(l) Each resident’s mail must be delivered unopened to the resident on the day it is delivered to the assisted living community. The assisted living community must not permit any resident’s outgoing correspondence to be opened or tampered with prior to being mailed or otherwise delivered.
(m) Each resident must have access to a telephone made available by the assisted living community and the right to have a private telephone, at the resident’s own expense. Telephones must be placed in areas to ensure privacy without denying accessibility.
(n) Each assisted living community must permit immediate access to residents by others who are visiting with the consent of the resident. Residents have the right to have visitors at mutually agreed-upon hours. Once the hours are agreed upon, no prior notice is necessary. Each resident also has the right to refuse to see visitors or terminate any visit.
(o) Each resident must have the right to manage his own financial affairs, including the right to keep and spend his own money unless that resident has been adjudicated incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction. Each resident must have the right to be free from coercion to assign or transfer to the assisted living community money, valuables, benefits, property, or anything of value other than payment for services rendered by the assisted living community.
(p) Each resident must have the right to a personal needs allowance for the free use of the resident in the amount of twenty dollars per week to be distributed by the administrator, on-site manager, or a responsible staff person in the assisted living community. The following conditions must be met regarding the personal needs allowance:
- The personal needs allowance must be included as a charge for services to each resident’s account which a resident or a resident’s representative or legal surrogate, if any, may waive by signing a written waiver upon admission or anytime thereafter. No allowance charge may be assessed where a resident or a resident’s representative or legal surrogate, if any, has signed a written waiver of the personal needs allowance. Such a waiver must be kept in a resident’s file.
- Where no waiver has been signed, the personal needs allowance must be tendered to each resident, in cash, on the same day each week.
- The personal needs allowance must not be intended or needed for purchasing necessary goods such as toilet paper and light bulbs which the assisted living community ordinarily supplies, and shall in no way relieve the assisted living community of the obligation to ensure that such necessary goods are available to the resident.
(q) Each resident must have the right to receive or reject medical care, dental care, or other services by those authorized and/or licensed to provide such medical care except as required by law or regulations.
(r) Each resident must have the right to choose and retain the services of a personal physician and any other health care professional or service. No assisted living community is permitted to interfere with the resident’s right to receive from the resident’s attending physician complete and current information concerning the resident’s diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. Each resident and his or her representative or legal surrogate, if any, must have the right to be fully informed about the care provided in the community and of any changes in that care and the right of access to all information in medical records retained by the community.
(s) Each resident must have the right to fully participate in the planning of his or her care and to question the need for changes in the plan of care. Case discussion, consultation, and examination must be confidential and conducted discreetly. A person who is not directly involved in the resident’s care may be present when care is being rendered only if he or she has the resident’s permission. The resident’s duly appointed legal surrogate(s) shall have the authority to act on the resident’s behalf as established by written applicable federal and state of Georgia law, and shall be entitled to receive information relevant to the exercise of his or her authority.
(t) Each resident, representative, or legal surrogate must have the right to inspect his or her records on request. Each resident must have the right to make a copy of all records pertaining to the resident on the premises or obtain a copy from the community. The community may charge a fee for providing photocopies of the records, but such a charge may not exceed what is charged by the local library for photocopies. Each resident has the right to confidential treatment of personal information in the resident file.
(u) Each resident who has not been committed to the assisted living community by court order or who does not have a representative or legal surrogate with specific written authorization to admit, transfer or discharge, may discharge or transfer himself or herself upon 30 days written notification to the assisted living community in conformance with the assisted living community’s policies and procedures.
(v) Each resident must have the right to access the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program O.C.G.A. § 31-8-50et seq. and the name, address, and telephone number of the ombudsman assigned to the assisted living community must be posted in a common area of the assisted living community.
(w) Residents must have the right to form a Resident Council and have meetings in the assisted living community outside the presence of owners, the management or staff members of the assisted living community, and the assisted living community must provide assistance in coordinating the meetings of the Resident Council.
(2) Each resident must be provided, at the time of admission to the assisted living community, with a copy of the Resident’s Bill of Rights, as provided in Rule 111-8-63.25. The Bill of Rights must include provisions for protecting the personal and civil rights of each resident. In the event that a resident is unable to read the Resident’s Bill of Rights the manager must take steps to assure communication of its contents to the resident.
(3) An assisted living community must comply with the provisions of the “Remedies for Residents of Personal Care Homes Act” as outlined in O.C.G.A. § 31-8-131et seq.
(4) The assisted living community must ensure that residents and their representatives, where applicable, are given opportunities to provide feedback in writing and otherwise on their satisfaction with the services being provided by the assisted living community with respect to at least the following areas: quality of care, food, activities, cleanliness of the assisted living community and helpfulness of the staff.
(5) The assisted living community must retain a copy of the resident’s record for two years following the date of discharge.
(6) The assisted living community must maintain documentation of the feedback it receives and its response to the feedback.
Violations of Resident Rights have been known the be the subject of many complaint inspections so be sure to adhere to these regulations provided by the Georgia Department of Community Health. It is highly suggested to form a “resident council” that can meet to discuss the many common issues that may arise in your community. Using the feedback from these meetings can assist with the satisfaction of residents and correct any potential issues before they arise.