How Valid Are Nursing Home Visitation Restrictions

HNWElder Care Law, Elder Law

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq; a New Jersey Elder Care Lawyer

Many nursing homes have policies whereby your children can only visit you during visiting hours. But that’s not exactly true, at least under Federal law.

A resident’s family member can visit at any time of the day or night.

Under the Nursing Home Reform Law, a nursing home should be as homelike as possible. Consistent with this philosophy, a nursing home should not limit visiting hours for “immediate family members or relatives.” For a late night visit, federal guidelines suggest that the visit take place outside of the resident’s room – in the nursing home’s dining room, for example – to avoid disturbing other residents’ sleep.

There are good reasons why a family member might want to visit outside of “normal” visiting hours. The family member might not get off work until visiting hours are over. Or the resident may have a lifelong habit of staying up late.

In addition, an off-hours visit may give a family member a better opportunity to check up on a nursing home. A visit at midnight or five in the morning (for example) gives a visitor a good look at how the nursing home handles residents’ late night needs.

Naturally, a visit can only be made if the resident wants to see a visitor; the visitor has no right to visit against the wishes of the resident.  Also, a nursing home has the right to establish reasonable rules and policies to address disruptive visitors and other emergent situations that inevitably come along when many unrelated persons and families are placed in a common and confined environment.

Contact me personally today to discuss your New Jersey elder care 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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