Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed To Do

Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed To Do

Nursing homes are bound by strict medical standards of care, as mandated by a federal law called the Nursing Home Reform Act. However, many Illinois nursing homes are still sued every year for nursing home abuse and neglect. Below, Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys explain all the things nursing homes are not allowed to do. 

At Curcio & Casciato, we safeguard nursing home residents’ rights and welfare. If you suspect any form of abuse or neglect, we urge you to take action and call Curcio & Casciato at 312-321-1111 to schedule a free consultation today.

What is the Nursing Home Reform Act?

The Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) is a federal law that was enacted as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA ’87). This landmark legislation established a comprehensive set of federal nursing home regulations and standards in the United States. These nursing home laws were enacted to enhance the quality of care provided to nursing home residents and to protect their rights. It outlines various requirements for nursing homes, including staffing, resident assessment, nursing care planning, and residents’ rights.

One of the fundamental aspects of these federal nursing home requirements is that in order to receive government funding for Medicare and Medicaid services, nursing homes must provide care and services that enable residents to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, psychosocial, and mental health. This means that nursing homes must not only meet the residents’ medical needs but also promote their overall well-being and quality of life during their nursing home stay.

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Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed To Do in Illinois

Under the Nursing Home Reform Act and related state regulations, skilled nursing facilities are bound by specific rules and guidelines to ensure the safety, dignity, and rights of residents. Here are some key prohibitions that federal and state laws say that nursing homes are not allowed to do:

Discriminate Against Protected Classes of Nursing Home Residents

According to federal regulations, discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability is strictly prohibited in nursing homes. Skilled nursing facilities must provide equal access to care and services for all residents, regardless of their protected characteristics.

Force Medical Services on Nursing Home Residents

Federal laws state that nursing homes are not allowed to force residents to undergo medical care or treatment against their will. Residents have the right to make informed decisions about their healthcare, and any medical interventions must be based on their informed consent or the consent of their legal representative or family members who have power of attorney.

Force Financial Management Services on Nursing Home Residents

A skilled nursing facility cannot compel residents to use specific financial management services or entities. Residents have the right to manage their own finances or designate a trusted individual to assist them without any undue pressure or coercion.

Prevent Nursing Home Residents From Accessing Their Financial Information

Residents have the right to access their own financial information and records. Nursing homes must not hinder residents’ access to their financial records, bank accounts, or any other financial documents related to their care. If they do, they are committing financial abuse.

items not allowed in nursing homes

Commit Nursing Home Abuse or Nursing Home Neglect

Above all else, nursing homes are unequivocally prohibited from committing any form of abuse or neglect towards their residents. This fundamental rule encompasses various types of abuse in nursing homes, which include:

  • Physical Abuse: Any intentional use of force resulting in physical harm, injury, or pain to a resident.
  • Emotional or Psychological Abuse: Engaging in behaviors such as verbal threats, intimidation, humiliation, or isolation that cause emotional distress and a significant decline in mental health.
  • Sexual Abuse: Any non-consensual sexual contact or harassment of a resident.
  • Financial Exploitation: Misappropriating a resident’s assets, funds, or property for personal gain without their consent. Or, as previously explained, preventing residents from having access to their own assets or financial information.
  • Neglect: Failing to provide necessary services, including basic needs such as nutrition, hydration, hygiene, and medical attention, resulting in harm to the resident’s physical or mental health.

Impose Unreasonable Restraint on Nursing Home Residents

Physically restraining residents in long-term care facilities is strictly prohibited, except in cases where residents pose a genuine danger to themselves or others. This crucial regulation ensures that physical restraints are only employed as a last resort when there is a clear and immediate threat to the safety and well-being of the resident or those around them. The exception underscores the importance of carefully evaluating and justifying the use of chemical or physical restraints, always prioritizing the residents’ rights and dignity. The goal is to create a safe and nurturing environment that respects the autonomy and individual needs of each resident while minimizing any risk of harm.

If your loved one has been physically restrained in their nursing home, you have grounds to contact a Chicago nursing home restraint attorney.

Administer Medications Outside of the Resident’s Treatment Plan

Residents have the right to receive medication as prescribed by their healthcare providers. Nursing homes cannot administer medications outside of the resident’s written plan or without proper authorization. Medications should be given in a safe and appropriate manner.

Chicago nursing home medication error lawyer can provide additional information in your free consultation.

Be Grossly Understaffed

Federal nursing home regulations stipulate that nursing homes must maintain an adequate level of staffing to ensure residents receive the necessary care and their daily basic needs are met. Additionally, sufficient staffing is a requirement for long-term care facilities to participate in Medicare and Medicaid services (42 CFR §483.30).

However, the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic have placed a strain on medical facilities nationwide, making Chicago nursing home understaffing dangerous but common. While COVID-19 in nursing homes has undoubtedly created staffing challenges, it remains a fundamental requirement that nursing homes do not become grossly understaffed to the point where residents’ daily living, well-being, and care are compromised. Maintaining an appropriate staff-to-resident ratio is essential to guarantee residents receive the quality care and attention they deserve, regardless of external challenges.

Prevent Nursing Home Residents From Accessing Medical Records

Residents have the right to review and obtain copies of their medical records. Nursing homes are obligated to provide access to medical records upon request, and they cannot withhold this information from residents or their authorized representatives.

Discharge or Transfer Nursing Home Residents Without Consent

Transferring or discharge planning of nursing home residents without their consent is a practice strictly regulated, with clear exceptions designed to protect the rights and well-being of residents. The rule generally holds that residents should not be relocated against their will; however, exceptions may apply when such action is deemed necessary for the resident’s health or safety or when the facility can no longer adequately meet the resident’s needs. When researching how to remove a patient from a nursing home, the relocation should be conducted under careful assessment and with the resident’s best interests in mind to avoid relocation stress syndrome. This ensures that any discharge or transfer decisions are made with utmost consideration for the resident’s welfare, preserving their dignity and right to a safe and appropriate nursing care setting.

Retaliate Against Residents for Submitting Complaints

Retaliation against nursing home residents for submitting complaints is a grave violation of their rights and is strictly prohibited. Residents have certain rights to voice their concerns, advocate for their well-being, and hold nursing homes accountable for any shortcomings in care or services. 

Legal protections are in place to safeguard residents who exercise their rights to complain, and nursing homes found engaging in retaliatory actions can face severe consequences. 

If you or a loved one has experienced retaliation after filing a complaint, seeking legal assistance from our experienced team of attorneys is crucial to protect your rights and hold the nursing home accountable for their actions.

things nursing homes are not allowed to do in illinois

Why You Need a Chicago Elder Abuse Attorney

Having a Chicago elder abuse attorney by your side is crucial when you or a loved one has experienced abuse or neglect in a nursing home. Here’s why:

  • Expertise: A skilled elder abuse attorney has specialized knowledge of the complex federal regulations and nursing home laws and can navigate the complex legal landscape effectively.
  • Advocacy: Your attorney will act as a strong advocate for your rights and those of your elderly family member, ensuring that justice is served.
  • Investigation: Attorneys can conduct thorough investigations, gathering evidence and witnesses to build a strong case against the nursing home or responsible parties.
  • Compensation: Your attorney will fight for compensation to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the abuse or neglect.
  • Experience: With experience in handling elder abuse cases, attorneys are well-equipped to negotiate settlements or pursue litigation if necessary.
  • Emotional Support: A compassionate attorney understands the emotional toll of elder abuse and can provide support and guidance during this challenging time.

If you suspect elder abuse in a nursing home, don’t hesitate to seek legal representation. Your attorney will work tirelessly to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions and that you and your loved ones receive the justice and compensation you deserve.

Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you or a loved one has experienced any of the prohibited actions mentioned above in a Chicago, IL nursing home, it is essential to seek legal assistance immediately. The dedicated team of attorneys at Curcio & Casciato specializes in nursing home abuse and neglect cases and is committed to advocating for the rights and well-being of nursing home residents.

If you suspect that a loved one has been subjected to abuse or neglect in a nursing home, do not hesitate to contact Curcio & Casciato. Our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team is ready to provide you with a free consultation and evaluate your case. We will work tirelessly to ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable and that you and your elderly loved ones receive the compensation and justice you deserve. Call us today at 312-321-1111 to schedule your free consultation and take the first step toward protecting the rights of nursing home residents in Chicago, IL.

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