Legal Rights of Nursing Home Residents Under Federal Law

HNWDischarge from a NJ Nursing Home Defense, Elder Law

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a NJ Discharge from a Nursing Home Lawyer

The rights of nursing home residents are protected under a federal law known as the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA). The law requires nursing homes to protect the rights of each resident and places a strong emphasis on individual dignity and decision making. Under their licensing approval, nursing homes must agree to honor residents’ rights when participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, if they want federal and state funding.

Patient rights are more specifically described in the Code of Federal Regulations. These regulations require a nursing home to “develop and implement written policies and procedures that prohibit mistreatment, neglect and abuse of residents. The regulations prohibit the use of restraints for purposes of discipline or convenience, and forbid physical abuse, corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion. The law also requires that the nursing home provide “[a] safe, clean, comfortable, and a homelike environment…” Finally, the regulations require that each nursing home provide services and activities to achieve or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care which . . . is initially prepared, with participation to the extent practicable of the resident, the resident’s family, or legal representative.

Here’s a snapshot of the rights to residents of nursing homes under federal law:

  • Right to Self-Determination
  • Right to Personal Privacy
  • Right to Be Free of Abuse and Restraints
  • Right to Information
  • Right to Visits
  • Right of Voluntary Transfer and Defense Against Discharge Rights
  • Protection of Personal Funds
  • Protection Against Medicaid Discrimination.

A resident in a nursing facility is entitled to receive written notice of the rights and services to which he or she is entitled during his/her stay in the facility. This notice must be given prior to or upon admission, and periodically throughout the resident’s stay, in a language the resident understands. The resident must acknowledge his or her receipt of such notice in writing.

Contact me personally today to discuss a threatened discharge from a NJ nursing home or violation of a nursing home resident’s rights matter. I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns. You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at

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