Knowledge is Power: Rights and Responsibilities in Long Term Care

Upon entering a long term care facility and becoming a resident, our senior loved ones are covered under the Resident’s Bill of Rights.

Last time we reviewed the role of a Long Term Care Ombudsman, who will help you and your senior receive the appropriate care and treatment as well as help you mediate any disputes with their new residence.

As your senior’s advocate – – and someone who cares about them – – it would be helpful to know your senior’s rights so that he or she gets the care and treatment to which they are entitled.

Long Term Care Resident’s Bill of Rights

  1. Medical Treatment – choose his own doctor;  get a complete list of all medical conditions in a form he can understand; participate in his own care throughout the treatment plan; be informed in advance of any change in the care or treatment plan that could affect his well-being; refuse to be involved in experimental tests and research; have his medical records treated with confidentiality and refuse to release his medical record to anyone outside the facility (except in the case of transfer to another facility or if it is required by law).
  2. Personal possessions – store her personal belongings securely; keep and use her possessions as long as they don’t interfere with another resident; manage her own personal finances (if the facility has been empowered in writing to manage her finances they must provide quarterly statements of funds).
  3. Personal Treatment – be treated with respect and dignity; be free from mental or physical abuse; be free from chemical or physical restraints unless ordered by a doctor;  be free from working for the facility unless it is part of the plan of care; only be transferred or discharged for medical reasons, the welfare of other residents ,  the welfare of your senior, or nonpayment  (a written notice with no less than 30 days must be given unless the safety and health of other residents are endangered); and written notice before a room change occurs.
  4. Communication – be informed in writing of fees and services of facility; have family members, relatives or legal guardians visit; or refuse to allow family, relatives or legal guardians to visit; send and receive mail privately; associate privately with people she may choose; meet with family members and legal guardians to discuss the facility; participate in social, religious and community activities unless prohibited by a medical order; view recent regulatory survey results; and communicate grievances without discrimination or reprisal.
  5. Personal Privacy – right to privacy during care; privacy when using phone; privacy for conjugal visits; share a room with a spouse unless doctor disagrees in writing in medical record; and use a private sitter from outside the facility (sitter must abide by facility policies and you can’t hold the facility liable for matters involving the sitter).

As is often the case, along with these rights come responsibilities.

Responsibilities of Your Senior Loved One and You

  1. Providing accurate and complete information about present complains, past illness, hospitalizations, medications, and other matters related to your senior’s health.
  2. Reporting perceived risks in your senior’s care and unexpected changes in his/her condition.
  3. Asking questions when it is not clear what your senior has been told or what your senior is expected to do.
  4. Following the care, service, or treatment plan developed; expressing any concerns about your senior’s ability to follow and comply with the proposed care plan or course of treatment.
  5. Your senior may be responsible for the outcome if he or she does not follow the care, service, or treatment plan.

We share this because we know that having expectations based on knowing rights and responsibilities makes it easier to know when the time is right to ask for assistance from your ombudsman.

Yes, knowledge IS power!