Trusting an elderly loved one to the care of a nursing home isn’t always easy. Luckily, Missouri has laws in place to help ensure the fair and adequate treatment of nursing home residents. All residents have a Bill of Rights under Missouri law. These are legal protections that aim to prevent the mistreatment, abuse and neglect of senior citizens who rely on the care of others.
Right to a Dignified Existence
The right to a dignified existence means legal entitlement to be treated by the nursing home and its staff members with respect and dignity. It also means each resident is entitled to equal access to quality care, as well as the security of his or her possessions and use of personal belongings, when possible. It is a nursing home’s legal responsibility to maintain or improve each resident’s quality of life by treating them with consideration and respect.
Right to Be Free From Abuse and Neglect
One of the fundamental rights of a nursing home resident is freedom from abuse, neglect, exploitation, unnecessary restraints, mistreatment, bullying and retaliation. All nursing home residents should be protected from any type of abuse or mistreatment at all times. This includes physical, mental, emotional, sexual and financial abuse. Freedom from chemical and physical restraints is also a resident’s right, unless there is a doctor’s order to treat a medical symptom or permission from the resident.
Right to Participate in Care
All nursing home residents have a legal right to participate in their own care. This includes both medical care and the care received by staff members at the nursing home facility. Nursing home residents should be allowed to choose their health care providers, medical treatments, activities, schedules and care plans. They should also have the right to designate a representative of their choice to exercise their rights. If a nursing home resident wishes to refuse or discontinue treatment, this is his or her right by law.
Right to Be Fully Informed
It is against the law for a nursing home or staff member to keep a resident in the dark about his or her care, medical or health status, treatments, and rights. All nursing home residents have the right to be fully informed of these things, including the risks and benefits of proposed treatments, rules and regulations of the nursing home, any changes in care or health status, and any changes in room or roommate. Furthermore, all residents must have access to the contact information of the local long-term care ombudsman program.
Right to Manage Financial Affairs
When a senior citizen moves into a nursing home, his or her finances remain under the senior’s control. All nursing home residents in Missouri have the right to manage their own financial affairs. Under this right, no one can hold or spend the resident’s personal money without the owner’s written permission. The resident also has the right to receive quarterly financial reports.
Right to Receive or Reject Visitors
A nursing home resident has the right to have contact with visitors of his or her choosing at any time, as well as the right to refuse visitors. All residents should be granted access to people, services and activities both inside and outside of the nursing home facility. If the individual wishes to participate in social, religious or community activities, this is also within the resident’s rights.
Right to Privacy
Residents have the right to privacy regarding personal, medical and financial matters. A nursing home may not monitor or interfere with a resident’s phone calls, meetings with visitors, mail, treatment, or personal and medical records. In addition, a resident must be granted access to private and unrestricted communication with any person of his or her choosing.
Legal Action for Violated Resident Rights
In addition to these state-mandated nursing home resident rights, all residents have federal rights under the Nursing Home Reform Act. This law reiterates most of the legal rights listed in Missouri’s Resident Bill of Rights. If you believe a nursing home has infringed upon your loved one’s rights or is guilty of elder abuse or neglect, don’t hesitate to contact Dickerson Oxton, LLC to speak to a Kansas City nursing home abuse attorney. You may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the nursing home.