Resident Rights

Promoting resident rights

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law was instrumental in transforming the mindset of long-term care providers and creating the modern senior living realm as we know it today. The law places a strong emphasis on individual dignity and independence guaranteeing them a quality of life that is similar to living in a community at large. Many states, such as Nevada, have adapted their own set of regulations regarding resident rights in the assisted living facility as seen below:

NAC 449.268  Rights of residents; procedure for filing grievance, complaint or report of incident; investigation and response. (NRS 449.0302)

1.  The administrator of a residential facility shall ensure that:

(a) The residents are not abused, neglected or exploited by a member of the staff of the facility, another resident of the facility or any person who is visiting the facility;

(b) A resident is not prohibited from speaking to any person who advocates for the rights of the residents of the facility;

(c) The residents are treated with respect and dignity;

(d) The facility is a safe and comfortable environment;

(e) Residents are not prohibited from interacting socially;

(f) Residents are allowed to make their own decisions whenever possible;

(g) Residents are aware that they may file a complaint or grievance with the administrator and that a resident who files such a complaint receives a response in a timely manner;

(h) A resident is informed as soon as practicable that the resident is being moved to a new room or that he or she is receiving a new roommate; and

(i) Residents are afforded the opportunity to initiate an advance directive or power of attorney for health care and that the employees of the facility comply with the wishes contained in such a document.

2.  The administrator of a residential facility shall provide a procedure to respond immediately to grievances, incidents and complaints. The procedure must include a method for ensuring that the administrator or a person designated by the administrator is notified of the grievance, incident or complaint. The administrator or a person designated by the administrator shall personally investigate the matter. A resident who files a grievance or complaint or reports an incident pursuant to this subsection must be notified of the action taken in response to the grievance, complaint or report or be given a reason why no action needs to be taken.

3.  The employees of the facility shall comply with the procedures adopted pursuant to subsection 2.

 

Top Takeaways:

  • (c) The residents are treated with respect and dignity;

       (a) The residents are not abused, neglected or exploited by a member of the staff of the facility,      another resident of the facility or any person who is visiting the facility;

I think this is the most poignant statements in the entire regulation. If your facility staff promotes an environment of respect and consideration of individuality you will find that complaints and grievances are far less common. This is a culture item and starts at the top. Every staff member in your facility is a front-line customer service representative and should be trained (and recruited) as such.

Pro Tip:

  • Develop a committee of residents, such as a resident council, to assist with the upholding of resident’s rights. Use this council to get a pulse of the community and stay in touch with what your residents are going through.
  • Work with the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the local ombudsman closely to promote the standards of resident rights within your community.

 

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