In 1986, the Institute of Medicine was asked by the United State Congress to conduct a review of nursing homes in this country. The results were shocking and scandalous. Residents of nursing homes across the country were being abused and neglected and nursing homes faced very little in terms of regulation or oversight to ensure that the abuse and neglect stopped. Therefore, in 1987 Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act. The Act included a variety of regulations and fixes in order to ensure that nursing home residents would receive quality care. The Act detailed the provision of certain services to nursing home residents and also established a Bill of Rights for nursing home residents.
The Nursing Home Residents' Bill of Rights
Residents of nursing homes are assured certain rights under federal law. These rights are as follows:
- 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.
Residents' Rights in New Mexico
The laws in New Mexico reflect those passed by Congress in 1987. New Mexico residents of nursing homes can be assured that they have the right to privacy, the right to individual care, communication, filing grievances, and the freedom from the use of restraints. Additionally, nursing homes in New Mexico must adhere to staffing standards, food supply and preparation standards, and standards regarding availability of pharmaceutics and diagnostic testing. The New Mexico Department of Health has outlined standards for nursing homes in New Mexico. These regulations are thorough and far-reaching. However, not all nursing homes care to follow the rules. And unfortunately, vulnerable New Mexicans can be seriously hurt when nursing homes do not live up to their obligations.
Residents have the right to a lawyer. If a family member or loved one has their rights violated, you need to contact an attorney who may be able to help you. Contact the experienced attorneys at Revo Smith Law for a free consultation and evaluation. There is no cost to you until we get you the compensation you deserve.