Nursing Home Problems and the Nursing Home Reform Act


Do you have a loved one in a nursing home?

In addition to the inherent stress of having a loved one in a skilled nursing facility (often called a “nursing home”), some families face the additional burden of dealing with a facility’s violations of residents’ rights.

As background, in 1987 Congress passed the Nursing Home Care Reform Act to protect the rights of nursing home residents. The purpose was to make sure that the care nursing home residents received helped them achieve or maintain their greatest potential for well-being, while protecting their individual rights. These established rights include:

  • The right to freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect;
  • The right to freedom from physical restraints;
  • The right to privacy;
  • The right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs;
  • The right to participate in resident and family groups;
  • The right to be treated with dignity;
  • The right to exercise self-determination;
  • The right to communicate freely;
  • The right to participate in the review of one’s care plan, and to be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or change of status in the facility; and
  • The right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal.

The Justice in Aging organization published The 20 Common Nursing Home Problems – and How to Resolve Them, by Eric Carlson. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, I encourage you to download and review this resource to confirm that the facility is meeting the required standards of care. If they aren’t, the publication has tips for resolution of some problems residents might face.

Image © whim_dachs –


About Sarah R. Watchko, Esq.

Sarah R. Watchko is an attorney practicing estate planning and elder law in Atlanta, Georgia


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