Can you sue a nursing home if you or a loved one were denied proper care?
That's a good question and one that many are asking after the recent news out of California. An elderly woman died after a nurse declined to perform CPR on her, citing the facility's policy.
The facility maintains that it was an independent living facility and not a nursing home. But that leads many to ask: What are a patient's rights in a nursing home?
Patients in nursing homes have more protections under the law than those who live in independent care facilities. These protections are outlined in state laws and under federal Medicaid laws.
Here are some important rights and protections afforded to nursing home residents in New York:
- Respect, dignity, and a comfortable living environment. This means that all patients must be treated without discrimination. They must also be free to make their own independent decisions.
- Privacy. A nursing home patient has a right to privacy. This means privacy in communications and in their belongings. This also means that certain details of the resident's life at the facility (namely, medical issues) are not to be disclosed to those who don't need to know.
- Services and fees. For residents entitled to Medicaid benefits, the nursing home must provide details about which services are provided and which ones come at an additional charge. The same goes for charges for services that are offered by the facility.
- Medical care. Residents always have the right to be informed about their medical condition. They are allowed to ask questions and have their questions answered. It's important to have a health care directive in place, as it would help the resident name someone to make important medical decisions in the event she is unable to make those decisions herself.
- Financial independence. A nursing home patient does not have to give up the right to handle his own money. A patient has the choice and should never feel coerced into any financial decisions. A financial power of attorney would help clear up any issues involving admistration of one's finances in the event of incapacity.
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