Supporting Residents Rights and Obtaining Feedback Resident's Bill

Protecting the residents 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, including Pennsylvania, have adapted their own set of regulations regarding resident rights in the assisted living facility as seen below:

2800.41. Notification of rights and complaint procedures.

(a) Upon admission, each resident and, if applicable, the resident’s designated person, shall be informed of resident rights and the right to lodge complaints without intimidation, retaliation or threats of retaliation by the residence or its staff persons against the reporter. Retaliation includes transfer or discharge from the residence.

(b) Notification of rights and complaint procedures shall be communicated in an easily understood manner and in a language understood by or mode of communication used by the resident and, if applicable, the resident’s designated person.

(c) The Department’s poster of the list of resident’s rights shall be posted in a conspicuous and public place in the residence.

(d) A copy of the resident’s rights and complaint procedures shall be given to the resident and, if applicable, the resident’s designated person, upon admission.

(e) A statement signed by the resident and, if applicable, the resident’s designated person acknowledging receipt of a copy of the information specified in subsection (d), or documentation of efforts made to obtain signature, shall be kept in the resident’s record.

  • 2800.42. Specific rights.

(a) A resident may not be discriminated against because of race, color, religious creed, disability, ancestry, sexual orientation, national origin, age or sex.

(b) A resident may not be neglected, intimidated, physically or verbally abused, mistreated, subjected to corporal punishment or disciplined in any way. A resident must be free from mental, physical, and sexual abuse and exploitation, neglect, financial exploitation and involuntary seclusion.

(c) A resident shall be treated with dignity and respect.

(d) A resident shall be informed of the rules of the residence and given 30 days’ written notice prior to the effective date of a new residence rule.

(e) A resident shall have access to a telephone in the residence to make calls in privacy. Nontoll calls must be without charge to the resident.

(f) A resident has the right to receive and send mail.

(1) Outgoing mail may not be opened or read by staff persons unless the resident requests.

(2) Incoming mail may not be opened or read by staff persons unless upon the request of the resident or the resident’s designated person.

(g) A resident has the right to communicate privately with and access the local ombudsman.

(h) A resident has the right to practice the religion or faith of the resident’s choice, or not to practice any religion or faith.

(i) A resident shall receive assistance in accessing health care services, including supplemental health care services.

(j) A resident shall receive assistance in obtaining and keeping clean, seasonal clothing. A resident’s clothing may not be shared with other residents.

(k) A resident and the resident’s designated person, and other individuals upon the resident’s written approval shall have the right to access, review and request corrections to the resident’s record.

(l) A resident has the right to furnish his living unit and purchase, receive, use and retain personal clothing and possessions.

(m) A resident has the right to leave and return to the residence at times consistent with the residence rules and the resident’s support plan.

(n) A resident has the right to relocate and to request and receive assistance, from the residence, in relocating to another facility. The assistance must include helping the resident get information about living arrangements, making telephone calls and transferring records.

(o) A resident has the right to freely associate, organize and communicate privately with his friends, family, physician, attorney and other persons.

(p) A resident shall be free from restraints.

(q) A resident shall be compensated in accordance with State and Federal labor laws for labor performed on behalf of the residence. Residents may voluntarily and without coercion perform tasks related directly to the resident’s personal space or common areas of the residence.

(r) A resident has the right to receive visitors at any time provided that the visits do not adversely affect other residents. A residence may adopt reasonable policies and procedures related to visits and access. If the residence adopts those policies and procedures, they will be binding on the residence.

(s) A resident has the right to privacy of self and possessions. Privacy shall be provided to the resident during bathing, dressing, changing and medical procedures.

(t) A resident has the right to file complaints, grievances, or appeals with any individual or agency and recommend changes in policies, residence rules and services of the residence without intimidation, retaliation or threat of discharge.

(u) A resident has the right to remain in the residence, as long as it is operating with a license, except as specified in § 2800.228 (relating to transfer and discharge).

(v) A resident has the right to receive services contracted for in the resident residence contract.

(w) A resident has the right to use both the residence’s procedures and external procedures to appeal involuntary discharge.

(x) A resident has the right to a system to safeguard a resident’s money and property.

(y) To the extent prominently displayed in the written resident-residence contract, a residence may require residents to use providers of supplemental health care services as provided in § 2800.142 (relating to assistance with medical care and supplemental health care services). When the residence does not designate, the resident may choose the supplemental health care service provider. The actions and procedures utilized by a supplemental health care service provider chosen by a resident must be consistent with the residence’s systems for caring for residents. This includes the handling and assisting with the administration of resident’s medications, and may not conflict with Federal laws governing residents.

(z) The resident has the right to choose his primary care physician. Cross References This section cited in 55 Pa. Code § 2800.16 (relating to reportable incidents and conditions); and 55 Pa. Code Appendix A (relating to assisted living resident rights: during residency and during discharge or termination of residency).

  • 2800.43. Prohibition against deprivation of rights.

(a) A resident may not be deprived of his rights.

(b) A resident’s rights may not be used as a reward or sanction.

(c) Waiver of any resident right shall be void.

Top Takeaways:

  • (d) A copy of the resident’s rights and complaint procedures shall be given to the resident and, if applicable, the resident’s designated person, upon admission.

(e) A statement signed by the resident and, if applicable, the resident’s designated person acknowledging receipt of a copy of the information specified in subsection (d), or documentation of efforts made to obtain signature, shall be kept in the resident’s record.

It is a good idea to have the resident rights documentation included in your contract signing process. Getting this information to residents upfront is key to starting the relationship off on the right foot and being compliant with this regulation.

  • (c) A resident shall be treated with dignity and respect.

(d) Residents have the right to be treated with consideration, respect, and recognition of their dignity and individuality

I think this is the most poignant statement 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 Human Services and the local ombudsman closely to promote the standards of resident rights within your community.

 

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