Living in an assisted living facility can provide a sense of security and community to its residents. However, the key to a successful stay in long-term care facilities is knowing what to expect from staff, other residents, and the policy standards of the facility. Understanding your rights not only ensures that you receive appropriate treatment but also provides peace of mind and protection from any potential mistreatment or abuse.
In this blog, we will go over essential information regarding resident rights in assisted living. We will also discuss what actions you can take if you feel your rights are being violated and remain informed throughout your experience!
What are the resident rights in assisted living?
The resident rights in assisted living facilities vary from state to state, but all must uphold certain legal requirements. Most facilities abide by a “Bill of Rights” that outlines the basic rights of all residents in long-term care facilities. Below are the 10 rights all assisted living residents must be aware of.
1. Right to access information
An assisted living resident has the right to receive information on everything, starting from their medication administration, care plans, financial records, choice of doctors, changes in policies, to any arbitrary discharge or transfer within the facility. In addition, residents must be given accurate information concerning all services available in the facility as well as what is expected of them when receiving them.
2. Right to privacy and confidentiality
Resident rights in assisted living include the right to privacy and confidentiality. Any information regarding their medical condition, family life, financial status, or religious beliefs should remain confidential unless there is an immediate need for it to be shared with authorized personnel. Additionally, assisted living facilities must ensure resident’s physical privacy, as well as their emotional privacy is respected by not intruding on conversations or activities without permission.
3. Right to make own decisions
Residents should also have the right to participate in decision-making regarding their care plans along with other rights. For example, choosing a personal physician, receiving visitors in private areas within the facility when desired, having reasonable access to facility amenities, and choosing how they spend their time or who they interact with. Residents may also designate someone else to make decisions on their behalf if desired.
4. Right to receive medical and personal care
In assisted living, residents are legally entitled to receive medical and personal care. That includes access to medication management, physical therapy, mental health check, and doctor visits. Additionally, residents should be provided with basic personal care services, including assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and grooming. Moreover, all assisted living facilities must provide housekeeping and laundry services for their residents.
5. Right to decent living environment
Residents’ rights in assisted living also include the right to a decent living environment. It means that they must be provided with safe, clean, and comfortable housing. In addition, all basic needs must be met, including access to nutritious meals, hot and cold running water, proper sanitation facilities, adequate heating or cooling systems, and an environment free from pests and hazardous materials.
6. Right to communicate with family, friends, or third-party
Residents also have the right to communicate freely with family members, friends, advocates, and other outside parties without interference or obstruction from staff. They may receive visits at any time during visiting hours set by the facility, with reasonable safety measures provided by staff when necessary. One way to ensure access to communication is by providing access to technology like computers, phones, tablets, and internet services.
7. Right to complain and seek help
Residents have a right to complain, report mistreatment, or any other issues without fear and should expect prompt attention from staff members. Facilities should provide mechanisms for handling grievances through which complaints can be addressed quickly and effectively while preserving resident confidentiality throughout the process. Also, residents are entitled to due process if disciplinary action is taken against them by staff members or management.
8. Right to perform social and spiritual activities
Resident rights in long-term care also includes freedom to participate in social and spiritual activities. Social activities in assisted living often involve gathering with other residents to participate in games, hobbies, conversations, movie nights, etc. Spiritual activities may involve participating in organized worship services, study groups, or small prayer and meditation sessions. Access to these types of social and spiritual activities provides residents a sense of belonging and stimulates their minds.
9. Right to suggest policy changes
Assisted living residents have the right to suggest policy changes that may benefit other residents, staff, and the facility itself. It is one of the important long-term care resident rights that staff, administrators, and facility owners should respect and take seriously. These suggestions can be made verbally or in writing directly to the facility’s administrator. However, residents should also be aware of any local, or state regulations that may impact their suggested policy change.
10. Right to safety and respect
Resident rights in assisted living facilities include the right to safety and respect. The community should be free of any form of discrimination and provide safe and comfortable living environments. All residents must also have equal access to activities and amenities within the facility to maintain a sense of community regardless of age or ability. Additionally, long-term care homes must have adequate security systems, health-safety measures, and emergency response plans to ensure secure premises for their residents.
What to do if you feel your assisted living resident rights are being violated?
If you feel that your rights as an assisted living resident are being violated, it is important to take certain steps in order to ensure that the issue is addressed and resolved. Here are some steps you can take:
1. Speak up
First and foremost, it is essential to voice your concerns to the facility staff and administration if any of your rights are violated. Communicate directly with the staff member or supervisor involved in the situation. Explain what has happened and why you believe it is a violation of your rights. It is essential to remain calm and respectful during this process, and clearly state what actions you expect them to take to rectify the situation.
2. Get family and friends involved
Dealing with mistreatment in care homes can be overwhelming and damaging for the mental health of senior citizens. So, if they feel they cannot handle it on their own, they should reach out to family and friends who could provide emotional support and advocate on their behalf. Assisted living residents must know that they don’t have to suffer alone, and it is totally fine to seek outside help.
3. File a complaint with the facility
If you do not get satisfactory results from direct communication, consider filing a formal complaint with the facility’s administration. Many facilities have a grievance procedure in place for residents who feel their rights have been violated. So, report the violation of rights to the management and do regular follow ups. Ensure that you follow all instructions for filing such complaints as outlined in the facility’s policy manual.
4. Contact the appropriate authorities
If you feel you are not receiving appropriate support from the assisted living authority, contact the state or local long-term care ombudsman offices for further assistance. You may also reach out to advocacy organizations or associations dedicated specifically to protecting the rights of elderly individuals residing in long-term care facilities.
5. Get legal advice and representation
If needed, consider seeking legal advice from a qualified elder law attorney. They can help you understand the specific laws that apply to your situation and ensure your rights are properly protected. Additionally, having legal representation can provide extra comfort and security knowing that their best interests are being looked after.
6. Document everything
As part of any claims or grievances you make against the facility, keep careful records of all potential abuse or neglect. That includes interaction with staff, emails exchanged between yourself and facility management, written statements made by witnesses regarding potential violations. Doing so can strengthen your claims and help get a quicker resolution.
All long-term care residents have a right to be treated with dignity, with respect, to receive adequate care, and to be free from any form of abuse. It’s crucial for both residents and their families to know what these rights are so that they can advocate for themselves or their loved ones if necessary.
We hope this blog post has helped explain the resident rights in assisted living. We encourage you to contact us with any queries or concerns. BoomersHub will be happy to help in any way possible. In the meantime, you may check out some of our related articles on this topic:
- Moving into a Care Home: Things You Need to Know
- How to Choose an Assisted Living Community
- World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
- Can You Check Yourself out of a Nursing Home?
- Assisted Living Checklist: 25 Questions to Ask Moving In
- What are some of the most common complaints about assisted living facilities?
One of the most common complaints about assisted living facilities is that they often lack a sense of community or connection between residents. Other complaints include poor food quality, lack of activities, and slow caregiver response. Lastly, many people complain about the cost associated with assisted living facilities and the fact that it can be difficult to get quality services for a reasonable price.
- How to file a complaint against an assisted living facility?
Filing a complaint against an assisted living facility can be done in several ways. It depends on the state you live in or the type of complaint you would like to make. Some options include:
- Gather all necessary information and evidence regarding the violation of rights.
- Talk directly to the supervisor or management team of the facility and report the incident, verbally or in writing.
- Reach out to the local long-term care ombudsman.
- File a formal complaint with the state’s department of health care regulation or the Adult Protective Services.
- Do regular follow up on the status of your complaint.
- Depending on the severity of your claim, consult legal counsel.
- At what age do most people enter assisted living?
Generally speaking, the average age of individuals entering assisted living is around 75 to 85 years old, with half being 85 or older. However, it can vary significantly depending on several factors. For example, those with chronic health issues or disabilities may enter early, while those without these issues may not need to enter assisted living until later.