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Rights of nursing home residents in Massachusetts

It is never an easy task for Massachusetts residents to place loved ones in a nursing home. However, it is often the only way an aging loved one can get the care and attention they require. Although many nursing home residents might be elderly and require daily assistance, they still have rights.

When residents move into a nursing home facility, it is required under federal guidelines that nursing home facilities must develop and implement written policies and procedures that prohibit the mistreatment, neglect, abuse and exploitation of the residents. Residents of a nursing home facility are entitled to receive written and verbal notice of the rights and services they are entitled to during the stay at the nursing home. Additionally, nursing home residents must acknowledge that they have received such a notice in writing.

While nursing home residents are entitled to an exhaustive list of rights, common rights of nursing home residents include the right to see family members, physicians, service providers, residents advocates, ombudspersons and representatives of the state and federal government. Residents also have the right to keep and use their personal belongings unless doing so could cause health and safety issues. Residents also have the right to apply for Medicare and Medicaid benefits and not be asked to leave due to receiving such benefits.

Nursing home residents also have the right to take action in cases involving abuse, neglect or exploitation. If staff at the nursing home is abusing a resident either physically or verbally, this could be cause for a civil action. If the facility has failed to provide adequate care, such as food, shelter and medical treatment, this could show evidence of neglect. Lastly, if the nursing home facility has taken advantage of a resident, such as taking money or property without consent, this is considered exploitation.

If a resident at a nursing home facility or a loved one of a resident believes that the rights of a nursing home resident have been violated, it might be possible to seek recourses. A civil action could help the harmed parties recover compensation, helping them cover medical expenses and other damages related to the matter.

Source: Injury.findlaw.com, "Legal Rights of Nursing Home Residents," accessed March 7, 2016

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